I’m trying to learn to be selfish. I’m sure that sounds strange. My entire life I have been a giver, someone who gives up my own wants and needs for others. I was raised in a strict religious household. I was taught that there is no higher purpose than to sacrifice yourself for another, as Christ did. Just writing that now makes me want to go throw up, but it was beat into my head (almost literally).
In many ways my giving nature has made me a good person – compassionate, willing to listen, and nonjudgmental (as a side note, I’m not sure how I got that when my #1 biggest complaint about religion is all of the judging). When I love someone I will do everything in my power and then some for them to have their needs and desires fulfilled. I get a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction from that.
The negatives of that trait are that my giving can get out of control easily with someone who is a taker. My ex was definitely a taker. He took everything I had and then demanded more, while simultaneously giving me very, very little in return. Being someone who doesn’t know how to say “No” to the people I love has at times exhausted and drained me. I have found my own needs ignored, and I’ve been complicit in that.
I do NOT want that to be my pattern again. So I’m practicing selfishness. There are negative connotations to the word, but looking out for myself, thinking of my own interests, and putting my happiness first sounds like just the change of pace that I need. In fact, I even have a plan for learning to be selfish, courtesy of http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Selfish. Here’s the easy five step process:
- Discover what selfishness is. Selfishness is not using others, or making them serve you, or removing yourself from people. Selfishness is being primarily interested in your own goals. Selfishness has nothing to do with other people – a selfish person who hurts others is a contradiction in terms. A selfish person is concerned with their self, and has no need to hurt others.
- Find out what makes you happy. Having things that make you happy is the key to being selfish. Do what you love, value things, be a happy person. When you have discovered what it is that makes you happy, follow it.
- Succeed in a certain area. Success is a primary component of being selfish. Being successful means that you have dedicated yourself to something that makes you happy and have followed through on it.
- Stop sacrificing. Don’t sacrifice unless its for something else that makes you happy. If you sacrifice, then you lose something that you value, something that makes you happy. You’ll never live a full life if you live this way.
- Understand the parts other people play in your lives. Remember, they are people, just like you. People are often an essential component to a selfish life. Having someone that you value and whose company you find enjoyable, your self finds a value in them. If you are in love with someone, that person is of value to you. To quote Ayn Rand, “In order to say ‘I love you’, you must first be able to say the I”.
I’m not sure where exactly I am on this list. I think probably way back at #1. Thinking of myself still seems unnatural and odd. I’ve got a toe into #2 as well. I am trying to discover the things that make me happy. So far I think I’m doing a pretty okay job. I can already tell that #5 will probably be the hardest for me to conquer. I guess that’s why it’s at the end, though. I’m gonna take it one step at a time, one day at a time. And I’m going to practice treating myself as well as I treat other people.
This weekend I made pretty good progress on doing things that make me happy. Friday night I stayed home and watched The Hobbit. I’ve been wanting to see the movie, but never seemed to be able to find the time or concentration. I’m glad that I made time, though, because it was a fantastic movie! Saturday I got tickets to a Tim McGraw concert from my boss, complete with VIP access and a private show. It was phenomenal. Then Sunday I got to go to my favorite event in the city, a food festival where the top restaurants offered $3 tasting portions. I stayed busy, and I stayed smiling. Here are some shots from those events (I was rocking hats and fun style all weekend, and I was in a pink frame of mind):
The best part of the weekend was waiting for me Saturday night (actually Sunday morning) when I got home:
Yay!!!! One step closer. No, they aren’t THE papers, but they are very, very close. Now Chris has to actually sign the damn things. Relying on an incredibly irresponsible person to take care of something even as simple as that isn’t as much of a given as it should be. Whenever the hell he decides to do that the papers will be submitted to the court. Then I will have to wait for yet ANOTHER man to sign them. Hopefully within the next month that will be complete and I will officially be a single lady again. Woot woot!!! I can’t wait!