Selfish is a word, that for a lot of people, has strong negative connotations. If someone is labelled as selfish, it often means that they do not think about the wellbeing of others.
I put it to you though that if you do not spend time centring your focus on yourself (being self-centred), then you will never be able to grow to your potential and put your best foot forward to engage with the world.
Selfishness in this sense, only then becomes a problem if it undermines the quality of your connection to the rest of the world.
Your Oxygen Mask
As part of the safety demonstration on planes, you are always advised to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. This is a universal principle that applies to all aspects of life too.
You cannot give what you have not got.
If you want to give the best version of yourself to your family and the world, you first need to create the right conditions for that best version of you to emerge.
This mean thinking about yourself and your needs. Being selfish.
If you are the kind of person (like me), that likes to spend time in deep reflection, and has bags of energy that you need to burn up through exercise. Do it.
Do what you need to do to create energetic harmony within yourself so that you increase your own vitality. You need to prioritise increasing your own vitality before you can do that for anyone else – be that your fellow humans at work, your wife or your children.
You cannot teach, what you do not know.
You teach your children through your actions not your words.
A Little Good is Better than a Lot of Bad
Prioritisation of where you choose to focus your mind is key to achieving energetic harmony in yourself and your relationships.
It is easy for people to prioritise spending lots of time with family first because that is what they think they “should” be doing. If however by doing this, you are consistently prioritising family time above time to invest in yourself, you are actually creating the conditions for you to start resenting family time because it happens to the detriment of your own wellbeing.
Even if you don’t consciously acknowledge this, your subconscious mind will know what is happening.
Being responsible for family means first being responsible for yourself. Creating the right conditions for you to become the best version of you so it is that version of you that your family gets to spend time with.
It is better to spend some time in the morning investing in yourself by reflecting and/or exercising (whatever works for you) and then spend an afternoon full of energy and joy with your family, than sacrificing all your “you” time to allow for more low-quality family time where you are not engaged as a result of being energetically constipated.
Now I know that not every family dynamic will afford the parents the time and space where they can have this “me” time, but there are always things you can do. Choices you can make to prioritise yourself and increase your own vitality.
Here is a little example… let’s say you cook two slices of toast for you and your child. One is cooked just right and one is a little burnt. Now most parents will want to give themselves the burnt piece of toast and give their child the nice one. They will do this instinctively without thinking.
What people fail to realise thought is that the subtext behind this action is telling your child that a grown-up human puts other people before themselves – they do not realise their parent is doing this purely out of love for the child.
Sometimes, the parent needs to give the child the burnt toast and explain to the child that the parent deserves the nice piece because…. of all of the hard work they are putting in looking after the child…. no. Simply because they are worth it.
This act is not about punishing the child by giving them burnt toast, it is about rewarding the parent by giving them the nice toast.
Explaining this the logic behind this to the child will help them to realise that an effective grown-up human has a strong sense of self-worth, and it also builds a sense of worth within the adult.
You get to teach your child a good life lesson and get to eat the nice toast!
When the child grows up, they can make their choice about who gets the slice of nice toast – the child first though (in time) needs to accept their responsibility to create the conditions where they have that choice.
That is called growing up!
Some food for thought… (terrible joke!)
Enjoy for now.