Has someone ever told you that you are being selfish? Or has someone ever made you feel like your actions were selfish? The odds are you have heard this from people close to you, and although your initial feelings were quite the opposite (you were feeling pretty good), at some point it may all become very confusing.
Is it being selfish, if you take care of yourself instead of others (for a change)? Is it being selfish, when you follow a path you feel is right for you? When you choose your own happiness instead of that of another, are you just a terrible person?
The key to your happiness
The tricky thing about happiness is that the key is not hidden anywhere but in your own pockets. You are not responsible for anyone else’s happiness except for your own, and anyone making YOU responsible for their happiness is going down a slippery slope.
When we place our happiness in the hands of another, we enter a needy, scary place. We need this person to behave so-and-so, otherwise we feel bad. We need this person to say certain things, otherwise we get upset. When we need others to behave in a way that pleases us, we are dependent on how other people behave. We start to control the environment, we start (trying) to control others, we start to demand others to stop being so darn selfish!
When someone is asking you to stop doing what you are doing (even if it makes you happy), and to start doing what they want you to do (even if it makes you miserable), what the heck is happening?
Please me instead!
Have you ever said YES to someone although you wanted to say no? Have you ever done something you did not want to do just to please another? Of course you have, we all have. This is all fine, until the scales tip too much towards giving to others in the expense of your own well being.
The truth is, you can never get poor enough to elevate someone to a feeling of abundance. You can never get depressed enough to lift someone else up. And you can never get scared enough to comfort someone else.
When you start to choose for yourself, when you say no, you follow your own heart and give to yourself instead, it might not make everyone around you so pleased with you. The word selfish might come up. But this has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the other (*we are not talking about hurtful / insulting behavior here BTW, but what you feel is part of your path in life*)
You are doing what makes YOU feel good, what you feel is part of your path in the life, what you feel would benefit others – when you are happy, pretty much everyone else around you will benefit from this. When you are happy, you light up everyone around you as well. Only when you are fulfilled can you start filling up others.
Do not give from your cup
The inspirational Lisa Nichols said it nicely in one of her speeches. For the demonstration she had a tea cup, which she started to fill with water. The cup represented our inner light, power and reserves, and the more water there was in the cup, the more we were filled with well being. She started pouring the water until the cup was full, and said how most people make the mistake of giving to others when their cup was sort-of-full.
But you are actually not suppose to give anything to others from your cup! You wait until your water runs over to the saucer and give from there! You can only give to others from your saucer.
How about your life?
If you think about the people in your life, is someone making you feel guilty about the choices you make? Do you feel like someone else has placed the key to their happiness in your pocket?
Start to observe the things others tell you, start to observe the feelings of guilt and the feeling of wanting to live conform other people’s wishes at the cost of your own well being. Ask yourself – you are not allowed to be selfish, but others are?
You are responsible for your well being, nobody else. You are the one who sets limits and says until here and no further. You are the one who lives your life, and nobody else has much to say about that. When you find your happy-place, you will only do great things from it. If you exhaust yourself in serving others, you will grow anxious, tired and may start resenting the very people you are trying to serve.
You first – then others. And it has nothing to do with being selfish. It’s the best service you can do to the world.