Making a case for positive selfishness sounds like a contradiction in all we have been taught about selfishness. But read on.
Taking time for YOU is beneficial to YOU and ALL around you!
My History with Positive Selfishness
I have recently been reminded of a concept I learned more than 25 years ago about coping with stress and chaos. It is the concept of POSITIVE SELFISHNESS. Some people also refer to the concept as POSITIVELY SELFISH or SELF KINDNESS.
Don’t turn me off because of the word SELFISH, please. Let me explain.
When my children were in elementary school, many of us moms were stay-at-home moms who ALWAYS felt overwhelmed with LIFE – you know – money, school, sports, birthdays, family, home, health, etc. The list could go on forever.
So a small group of PTA friends, including me, formed a little support group that met regularly at a local restaurant. We gathered to enjoy some appetizers and iced tea, and share inspirational ideas we were using to cope with the challenges we were facing as young mothers and wives (and PTA moms).
One of the mothers, *Linda Stimatz, was older than the rest of us so she kind of took the lead. Somewhere along her journey, she came across an article about POSITIVE SELFISHNESS!
I wish I still had that article because it was something that changed my life. Our gatherings began to focus on discussions about this concept.
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What is Positive Selfishness?
This concept seems to be a contradiction in words. We typically do not associate selfishness with anything positive.
But what if we took a little bit of TIME for ourselves to DO something, FEEL something, ENGAGE with something/someone, or just do NOTHING? What may happen? The world will go on – trust me!
My little group of PTA friends became experts on being positively selfish because we learned that a simple act of selfishness can produce many positive results.
We learned that even a small act of self-kindness can help us BE BETTER for the people we love! By scheduling acts of self-kindness into our lives, we became better humans.
An act of self-kindness might be taking a nap to recharge, developing a new hobby, learning meditation or doing yoga. It could also be getting a massage, taking a bath with candles and music, or even gathering with friends to recharge and learn how to manage stress better.
Related Article: How to Bring More Cozy Into Your Life
So many of us had put ourselves on the back burner to the detriment of our own mental health, physical health, and social health. And as a result, our loved ones were not getting the BEST version of US!
For more about acts of positive selfishness read here to learn why regular massage is very beneficial.
Do You Have a Selfish Phobia?
Some people even have a selfish phobia – a fear of being considered selfish – just like they may have a fear of spiders or snakes. After all, how many times did our mothers say to us, “Don’t be selfish” when we were kids? Many of us grew up believing that we needed to PROVE that we are not selfish in order to NOT be labeled that horrible word.
Consequently, as children we became confused about boundaries. As adults, we had to learn that positive selfishness is not just about “doing something” for ourselves. It is a complete MINDSET that takes time and practice to develop and strengthen.
A positively selfish mindset means setting limits and boundaries, when needed. It means saying NO at times so we can preserve our energy and take care of ourselves and our loved ones. In other words, we need to lose our selfish phobia.
Positive Selfishness Today
Thankfully, the concept of positive selfishness and self-love has changed over the years and is not quite as taboo as it was 20 years ago. Nowadays, in general, society is more aware of the role self-love plays in our lives.
We have learned that it is critical to our relationships and personal growth; it is essential for developing and improving our coping skills during stressful times. And, it goes hand-in-hand with valued character traits such as compassion, esteem, love, care, worth, management and respect.
So why did this concept of positive selfishness come to my mind recently?
We have all been through one of the most difficult times in our recent history with the pandemic, racial unrest, and political divides. As women, we tend to put ourselves on the back burner when life gets tough. During crisis, it’s very easy for us to revert back to our old mindsets of pleasing others and neglecting ourselves.
Thus, as I saw this occurring with people around me, my thoughts went to the concept of POSITIVE SELFISHNESS because tough times are EXACTLY when we most need to be using self kindness and love to maintain our own energy, health, and positive mindset so we can be the BEST version of US.
What acts of positive selfishness have you been doing during this stressful time?
Make a list of 10 acts of positive selfishness you can use to refresh, renew, and re-energize for your own health and those you love.
Write a mantra you can say to yourself as a daily reminder about the importance of a positive selfishness mindset that includes setting boundaries.
- I am kind to myself so I am the best ME I can BE.
- I do acts of positive selfishness so I grow into the person I’m meant to be.
- Positive selfishness benefits me and those I love.
- Self-kindness is necessary for my personal growth and well-being.
- I practice positive selfishness for my family and me.
- I say NO when necessary to preserver my well-being and maintain boundaries that benefit me and those around me.
Remember, making yourself a priority is one of the best gifts you can give to your loved ones!
Related Article: How to Protect Your Peace of Mind
Love to ALL! ~ Susan
P.S. You can learn more about POSITIVE SELFISHNESS at these links:
*I dedicate this article to the memory of my friend, Linda Stimatz, who helped me learn about positive selfishness.