I’ve been called a lot of things in life. You know the drill, I’m sure. The no one escapes the being called ‘things’ thing. The words and the descriptions that define you, the ones you take on and stick to you like glue. Some stay to be a trigger for years to come. Like spoiled or crazy are for me. (I dare you to call me spoiled; I double dare you. Ugh, hate that still. Haha.) But I realised this week I’ve been working to set aside one of them in particular for a while now. The big one (for women especially) SELFISH.
Something has clicked and it changed the way I think about it. How I relate to myself as someone who could easily be considered selfish by those looking from the outside in. Genuinely, I don’t care if you call me selfish anymore. I’ll wear selfish like a badge of honour. In the same way that I reclaimed the word fat for myself; I feel like I’m selfish in the best possible way. Now I take pride in putting myself first, in knowing my limits and knowing when and where to say no with strength.
I love to say no and do it as often as possible. Give it a try; it’s the best.
I am a woman in a relationship that doesn’t require my constant supervision or dependence. A woman that doesn’t have children, a regular day job, personal debt beyond my home or parents incapable of caring for themselves. Plus I have a range of skills which enable me not to have to work a nine to five like most. As far as responsibilities go, I have very few apart from myself, Kel and the world at large (as an idea, a concept, not literally everyone).
I like doing things I like to do. Some of you are probably sitting out there right now thinking, I’m a jerk. That’s fine but consider for a moment that of course, you do! That little voice of the ‘they’ showed up on time to remind you of your place. That we, as women, are trained to hand our lives over to our partner, children, parents, friends. And not just that, but to do so without complaint or consideration for ourselves and our personal needs.
So, I’ve reclaimed the word selfish and made it work for me instead of allowing it to continue to trigger me. My Aunt says that people who don’t have children are more selfish than those who do. Sure, I tend to agree to a certain extent. I put my needs, first; pretty sure that’s the definition. But being selfish doesn’t mean I’m not a good person or incapable of being selfless. The two CAN live in the same body. I promise you that.
Yeah, it sounds all about me.
That’s because it is. I love my family and friends, but they have their own lives to run. But I refuse to let them live mine for me (not that they were asking to). For me, this version of being selfish doesn’t mean being wrong. Because I know for some of you selfish is the worst thing you could be called. You put other people first, and you want (desire!) acknowledgement for that. When you don’t get it, you feel lost, angry, sad or hard done by.
But here’s the deal, you need to take your power back. You can’t change the world, but you can change how you react and respond to ‘things’. Offer your acts of service as gifts to other people, be as available as you’re comfortable with. Just don’t do it because someone might call you selfish if you don’t. It never works to live your life under the weight of other people’s expectations.
The thing about expectations is that the more you can identify them and put them aside, the better! When ‘they’ tell me how to live my life, how to be myself and where to from here, I listen. I’m not rude or trying to be. But I don’t put these opinions above my own. Not anymore, I’m living this life for me and doing what, hopefully, will make me proud of myself should I be lucky enough to live to old age. It’s an entirely different way of looking at things than the programming that I grew up with (and I was luckier than most!).
So, I challenge you to find something you can be selfish about this week. Every week! But let’s start with one. Shift your focus to yourself and see what shows up for you next. I can’t wait to hear all about it.
Hi! I’m Melissa Walker Horn. Around here, they call me Suger. I’m the Chief Blogger and doer of all the things here at Suger Coat It. Blogging since 1901; I love a casual ootd, taking photos, and writing about things that irk or inspire me. I love wine and cheese, long days at the beach and spending time with my family. I make stuff for the internet over at Chalkboard Digital. You know, living the sweet life.