“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” Oscar Wilde
You know when you go to the hair salon and it’s like sitting on a therapist’s couch or a bar stool next to your best friend? We tell them everything…and anything, don’t we? I know I certainly have (can I get an Amen, Rachel?).
And because they create that beautiful and safe space for us, you hear everything…sometimes more than you would like.
I was in the salon getting my hair cut this week and another client came in that I didn’t know. The conversation turned to why some other woman – who wasn’t there – and the reasons why they believed she didn’t have children.
And then that word came up…that word that makes my ears perk up and my brow furrow…that word we’ve turned into an insult against other people: selfish.
And the woman I didn’t know shared, “I don’t think she’s selfish, but I think she’s used to her life being all about her.”
Now I could easily turn this into a blog post about how women who don’t have their own children are not selfish, they’re self-aware; myself being one of them. (I think being a mother is the absolute hardest job on the planet and I knew early-on I wasn’t built for that.)
And I certainly have some painful history with that judgement because when I told my father years ago that I wasn’t going to have children (and therefore not give him grandchildren), he told me, “You’re so selfish.”
But I’m not going to do that…because I think there’s a bigger lesson here for all of us as women.
Somewhere along the way, we gave this word selfish a negative connotation.
Our souls were born into this life to live our lives.
Not to live other people’s lives for them…
Not to live to make everyone around us happy….
Not to put all of our own needs, wishes and desires aside so everyone else’s needs, wishes and desires can be achieved…(no one likes a martyr….)
When my father told me that I’m selfish for not giving him grandchildren, he was saying to me essentially, “You should put my desire for grandchildren above your own desires for the life you want to create for yourself.” That’s a pretty selfish request.
When the woman in the salon said, “I don’t think she’s selfish, but I think she’s used to her life being all about her,” what she was implying was that this woman’s life – who wasn’t there to say what was true for her – shouldn’t actually be about her. It should be about everyone else.
When that’s all there is….That’s all you have any control over in this life is your choices and your actions. That’s your only responsibility – to take care of you. What else would it be about?
Were women born into this life to serve others and make everyone around us happy to the detriment of ourselves? Seriously?
That’s our purpose here?
That’s what we’re born to do?
That may be what we’ve been taught either directly or indirectly (by selfish people who wanted their needs met), but that doesn’t make it true.
If we are the ones who gave that word selfish the negative connotation, then we can change it.
We can stop judging others as selfish because they’re not doing what we want them to do so we can feel better, happier, more secure…whatever.
We can, instead, look to them for how they’re consciously making choices that help them create a life that feels good (even when it’s different from our own), and cheer them on as they spread the light of truth and empowerment for us all.
Selfish doesn’t mean taking care of ONLY you and never doing anything for anyone else; it actually leaves you with more to give when you put your air mask on first.
And by the way, when you live a life that makes you happy, feeds your wishes and fuels your desires…everyone around you benefits. I promise you that. You’re a better woman, a better partner, a better mother and a better friend.