Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Be Selfish

You Are Important

It's Time to Focus on You and Your Life

In our society I feel as if we are conditioned to be selfless, to put others before ourselves, and to hide that we care more about ourselves than we do about others. While acting selflessly and putting the needs of others before ourselves are positive behaviors they can be detrimental and ultimately go against human nature. Naturally humans are selfish creatures. Evolutionary we had to be in order to survive. Although being selfish and putting our needs first is no longer necessary in order to survive physically they are still crucial with respect to our mental well-being. Too many of us are afraid to say out loud that we care more about ourselves than we care about others. We fear exclaiming that our happiness and our lives are our top priorities. And we are almost ashamed to admit that we believe that we are important. 
It's not all about you but it is time to focus on you-
Over the course of the past few days I have had to stand up for my beliefs and my political position during the chaos that is the presidential election. This post has nothing to do with politics but I bring it up only because it is relevant to something I admitted during the futile and endless debates with friends on the opposite political side. To put an end to the disputes (that I really had no interest in being a part of to begin with...I am politically informed but it is far from being my passion) I finally said outright, "I am going to say the thing that everyone is thinking but feels as if they should not say. I care more about myself than I do other people." The room went silent. What a bold statement to make. But is it not the truth? Do we honestly believe we are truly selfless creatures that would put the lives and well-being of others above our own? There was probably a time when I believed in this fantastical notion. However, years of experience with illness, treatment, and self-reflection have taught me that in many cases I have to be selfish. I spent years of my life trying to please people, putting my needs aside in order to benefit others, working to offer others what they wanted while neglecting my own desires, and focusing on making others happy. In doing these things I began to forget that my needs and wants matter and that I am important also. I was going above and beyond for other people who would probably not do the same for me. This unhealthy pattern lasted for years. It continued as my eating disorder developed. It lasted through brief periods of recovery and subsequent relapses. But it wasn't til my first time in treatment (2 1/2 years ago now) that I realized that my actions were not merely doing a disservice to myself but they contributed to why I became sick to begin with. While constantly acting selfless and trying to please those around me I lost my sense of self. I lost the belief that I am important. And my anorexia quickly jumped in to feel the void. Through therapy and self-reflection I was able to recognize that if I had any shot at becoming healthier and being happy I was going to need to be selfish and take the time to focus on me and my life. My experience while debating with friends last night reminded me of what I discovered over 2 years ago. There is no shame in believing that you are important. There is nothing wrong with being a little selfish and putting yourself first. It is time to focus on ourselves and our lives by making ourselves our main priority. We need to focus on our needs, our wants, our hopes, and our lives if we have any chance of holding on to our senses of self. If you doubt for a moment that you are important or if you fear saying aloud I have a couple quotes I'd like to share with you in the hopes of helping to alleviate these feelings-

"Everything is important. To the smallest insect, even the moldering tree, the deepest stone in the drift."

- Marlene Van Niekerk, Agaat

Even the smallest, seemingly insignificant things are important and carry a purpose. It does not matter what we do for a living, what we wear, or how much money we have. We are here on this earth because G-d decided it to be so and there is an intention for us weather we are aware of it yet or not. Like the "smallest insect," that will most likely be eaten by a bird or caught in the web of a spider, we are important and we are here for our reason. We can never lose this belief. We can't deem ourselves insignificant because as A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh once said-

"Sometimes...the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."

- A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

It doesn't matter whether you are short or tall, thin or fat, rich or poor, smart or dumb you still count. You are still important. You are important not just to yourself but most likely to someone else as well. Sometimes the things that seem to carry the least significance are in deed the most important. For example my kitten Milly is relatively insignificant in the large picture. Her life and well-being has no major impact on the world at large. However, she is important to me and takes up a huge amount of space in my heart and soul. She inspires me every day to fight to stay healthy, to get up in the morning because I need to tend to her, to eat and take care of myself. She is dependent on me. If I become sick again and need to return to treatment her fate becomes questionable. Perhaps my parents would be kind enough to take her in while I am away. But there is always the chance that I would have to give her back to the shelter. Neither is an option for me. I can feel how much she loves. I can see how much she needs me and wants to be with me. I can tell that she misses me when I am away for extended periods of time. I cannot leave her. She is a small animal. She has no effect on other people or the world at large. But she is important to me and I know that I am important to her. This is just one example but I know that my existence matters in more ways than one. Because I know that I am important I can realize that I need to take time to focus on myself and my life. 
It's Milly !
So this entry has been somewhat scattered and long-winded and I am tempted to continue writing but I know that no good will come of it at this point. But before I say farewell I would just like to touch on my major points just in case they got lost in the midst of my word jumble. Remember that sometimes we must be selfish and put ourselves first in order to remember that we are important. If don't make ourselves our top priority we risk losing our sense of self. In order to remember that we matter we need to take time to focus on ourselves and our lives. Lets remember the things in life that we love, that makes us smile, that brings us joy, and pursue them! We all matter. We are here for a purpose. We deserve happiness as much as anyone else. Never let yourself forget these things! Don't allow others to convince you otherwise! You are not a bad person because you put yourself first no matter what society has conditioned us to believe. We need to take care of our own mental and physical health above anything else. If we don't than ultimately we won't be capable of helping others anyways. I'll leave you with one last brief quote that I feel are words to live by and additionally I think it will help make this post a little more cohesive-

"A girl should be two things: who and what she wants."

- Coco Chanel

You are more than important- you are fabulous!
Be who you want to be and fulfill your wants and desires. If you don't act in accordance with your true identity and inner wants then you are not only neglecting yourself but you're implicitly saying that you are not important. Listen to the words of the fabulous Coco Chanel and hold on to your personal priorities. If you do you will never fall into the trap of losing your sense-of-self again.

Focus on you because you count,

1 comment:

  1. Your last two posts made me think outside my normal thought patterns. You keep me grounded--thanks.