The Happiness Connection  

Go ahead. Be 'selfish'

Is taking care of yourself selfish?

Do you regularly take a working lunch so you can get a few extra tasks off your list, stop going to the gym, because you just can’t find time, and spend your weekends doing things that make other people happy, rather than something that will make you happy?

If so, you are in good company. Focusing on making other people happy, to the detriment of your own well-being, is common.

If you are a woman, you may have been raised with the belief that a mother’s role is to nurture her family with no thought for herself.

My mom often felt most satisfied when she knew everyone else in her family was happy. I’m not sure if she realized that the days she was happy, were the days that guaranteed the rest of us felt happy, too.

I was raised in a church where we learned that good people prioritized in the following way:

  • Jesus
  • others
  • yourself.

If you put yourself higher on the list, you were selfish.

It is important to consider other people, and not to act in a manner that will negatively affect them, but this philosophy encourages people to view self-care as self-centred, and unimportant.

If my mom had taken regular time for herself, she would have been happy more often, and so would we.

Happiness is a choice; the only one who can make you happy is yourself. If you always put other people first, you are ignoring these nuggets of happiness, and jeopardizing your own well-being.

By taking enough time to look after yourself, you will have more energy to help others. You can’t fill anyone up from an empty vessel. You need to be at the top of your game if you want to help others.

Developing a healthy relationship with yourself is an important behaviour to model for your children. Children learn through observation, and imitation. Show them that taking time to nurture themselves is a life skill that should not be overlooked.

The safely presentation on any airline always advises you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else, the same goes with any form of care. For optimum effect, look after yourself before you attempt to look after others.

If you want others to treat you well, you need to believe that you are worth being treated well. What better way to show the world that you are worthy of respect, than by respecting yourself and taking time for self-care?

Set boundaries. Make sure that everyone realizes when you are carving out some time for yourself. If you choose to have a relaxing bath with a book and glass of wine, let everyone know that you are unavailable for the next 30 minutes.

There is no rule that says you must be available to clients 24-7. Don’t take business calls, or answer business messages outside of your predetermined work hours.

Ways to take care of yourself include:

  • Take time to read, meditate, garden, or do other activity that you enjoy
  • Eat regularly, and healthily
  • Get enough sleep to achieve peak performance
  • Create regular opportunities to socialize with people you like
  • Take a break during your work day to get some exercise
  • Remind yourself that you are a work in progress, there is no need to expect yourself to be perfect

Emotions are contagious. If you are happy, the people within your sphere of influence will benefit.

Challenge yourself to do something just for you, each day, and discover how much better the people in your world feel.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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