More to the point, I believe some selfishness is vital to being effectively selfless.
One of the most common roadblocks we put in front of making healthy behaviours happen consistently is time. We're too busy to exercise, too rushed to meditate, too hectic to prep a healthy meal let alone actually sit down to eat it slowly and mindfully.
We're so very good at giving our time to others; families, friends, bosses, colleagues; and yet so terrible about saving some time that is wholly for ourselves. Add in holidays/events/gatherings etc. and these distractions and external demands become even greater.
Often this stems from a feeling of obligation - we're convinced that our social 'shoulds' and 'musts' are more important that our personal needs - those can wait.
The reality is however that by giving all and taking nothing, the quality of what you're giving also suffers.
You can't pour from an empty cup.
Cliche yes, but valid. You need to fill yourself up before you can start sharing yourself out. That is when you will be able to show up as your best self - full of love, energy, patience, calm and whatever other qualities you dream of bringing to your relationships. It means you need to stop sacrificing your own happiness, health, goals and dreams for the sake of others and instead prioritise these things so you can be the best partner, friend, mummy, colleague employee etc.
Before you roll your eyes and scoff at the impossibility of this, please know I'm not talking huge shifts and hours of dedicated time. Sometimes a couple of minutes for yourself can be transformative; a few breaths outside in the fresh air; 5 minutes of meditation; listening to your favourite song; 5 minutes of stretching before your start your day. Small, loving gestures of self-care and self-honouring choices can truly make you feel like a new person. And with a little focus and effort, we can all find 5 minutes can't we?
So claim that time as your own, make it non-negotiable 'you-time' that fills your cup before you share it out! It's time to get efficiently selfish to be effectively selfless, and here's how...
HOW TO BE EFFICIENTLY SELFISH
1. KNOW WHY you're taking this time for yourself. For your happiness? For your health? For your productivity, quality of work and therefore potential to advance? To show up with energy and vibrance with your partner or kids now and for years to come? You need to turn your usual reasons/excuses of why you don't make time for yourself, into the reasons why you do!
2. KNOW WHAT. Take a minute to ask yourself what you need. When was the last time you even did that? What is it you feel your body, health and mind could do with? Be specific. Exercise? An uplifting chat with your best friend? Some stretching? A hot bath? Meditation? Don't dismiss potentially unrealistic desires, just use them as direction towards smaller habits that are currently more feasible to achieve yet serve the same purpose/provide a similar reward.
3. KNOW HOW AND WHEN. If you don't schedule it (or at the very least try to), it won't happen. So when you know what you need, plan for when you can squeeze in that you-time. Get necessary preparations in place and then commit, commit, commit! A clear point 1 will help with this!
4. BEWARE time-devouring distractions. i.e. PUT THE PHONE DOWN! Pull yourself away from that vacuous social media feed and focus your time on something that actually feeds your body and soul. Once you've made the effort of carving some time for yourself, don't waste it! Either be very specific about what content you're consuming (articles that lift your spirits, videos that truly make your heart smile) or just step away entirely! This is why it's so important to 'Know What'.
Make these small moments for yourself happen and see how your energy, calm and joy shifts. Recognise how much better you are with these efforts in your days and then do your very best to prioritise them; for your health, for your happiness and for all those around you. Because when we work this way, you'll see that this little bit of selfishness enables a more powerful, joyful level of selflessness!
Happy you-time guys - you deserve it!