I know you’ve wondered if, even fought the possibility that it might all be about you. Yet you get the inkling and then instantly feel guilty for being “selfish”. Or you feel that you are being taken advantage of but resist making any changes or confronting someone because they will suspect that you think it’s all about you. Or you refuse to say “no” when asked for help. Or maybe you never follow your heart and do what really excites you… because you don’t want to be selfish.
By the power invested in me… by… well… me, I now proclaim that it is and has always been all about you!
Am I saying that you are selfish? No, that’s not what I am saying. I am saying that nothing happens for you outside of your own experience. In science we say we cannot remove the observer from that which is observed. Such is life: you cannot remove the experiencer from that which is experienced. If a tree falls in the forest and you are not there to hear it, it does not make a sound. If someone tells you about it, then that person made a sound… but not the tree. Trust me on this one.
Even the term “selfish” is a fabrication from our culture. You had to be taught that there is something called “being selfish” and then someone had to give you examples of what that might be. (In all likelihood, it was some authority figure who defined “selfish” as you wanting something that was inconvenient for them to provide you at the time or that they themselves didn’t feel that they deserved.)
The trouble with “selfish” is that we have put too many things in the selfish bucket. The biggest thing that has gotten tossed in the “selfish” bucket is our taking responsibility for our needs being met. If we advocate for getting what we really want, we brand ourselves as selfish, get more of what we don’t want in the name of serving others, and end up resenting it. We also expect those other people to not be selfish and look after our needs in the same fashion. It seldom balances out, though. As they cannot read our minds and we have not told them what we need for fear of coming across as… well, you know… selfish!
But really each of us is responsible for getting our needs met. Unless you are actually a child reading this, it is no ones else’s responsibility to ensure your needs are met than you. It is not your spouse’s job, though you may make requests of your spouse. It’s not your parents’ job, though you may make requests of your parents. It’s your job. Imagine if everybody took back responsibility for their own happiness what a better world this would be. Crazy!
Another way in which it is really all about you is that, when you serve others, whether it be your sweety, family, or community, some part of you does it because of your core values, the real you beneath ego. There may be a seemingly bigger part of yourself that does good works so others will think you are a good enough person. That part of you, ironically enough, is acting from a need to have external validation that you are good enough. The deeper, truer you does good works because they hold internal meaning to you and feed your soul. It’s OK to have both parts of you doing good works. You can even thank your ego for cooperating with you. “Who’s the good ego?! Good little ego!” (My ego would prefer it if I capitalized Ego, but I’m in control and I’m not going to do it! —- Whoops.)
I have this fantasy that if everyone took action on their deepest heart’s desires, this world would experience such healing. I think we limit ourselves and others if we act out of external expectations and self-sacrifice. The more we align with the callings of our heart, the more joyfully we produce results. When we produce out of obligation we experience resentment and become irritable at those we “selfishly” serve. If we take action that is clearly from our own intrinsic core values, we are energized and inspirational to others. It is important to be mindful, even in giving what we live to give, not to overspend ourselves. We need our rest to restore ourselves before we give to others.
You serve others best when you take care of you.
Your Action Steps:
1. Make a list of your needs. Circle needs that are not being met. Decide how you can take action to have them met. Is there a request you can make?
2. Notice your choices throughout the day. Ask yourself if you are doing something because you “have to” or because it feeds your soul.
3. Think of something you used to enjoy but haven’t done in a long time. Do it.
4. Think about a dream or fantasy you had as a child about what you wanted to do with your life. Is there a way you could create that now? Start it.