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Selfishness. From our current location on the political spectrum, it’s really not a good thing.

But what if we could turn that around a bit?

In English at least, the word “selfishness” doesn’t distinguish between connotations of self-care and greediness. Yet a little more good selfishness can actually help reduce strain on others.

Present Self, Future Self

Can we conceive of selfishness as encompassing both our present and future selves? This means looking down the road, and that’s not always a comfortable place to look. Also, we can’t predict exactly what will happen, only general trends. Rather, it’s hindsight that may be 20/20.

I’ve worked with a lot of people in their 80s and some in their 90s, and I truly see the majority of us creating our own negative health issues. Sometimes it’s done inadvertently, through lack of knowledge, but more often it’s plain old laziness and being indulgent of Present Self’s desires… the not-so-good facet of selfishness.

Why Be Selfish?

Some preventive self-care goes a long way to avoiding needing to have public health dollars spent on us. Same thing to help prevent family members needing to step in and take care of a parent, say, prematurely.

I’ve seen a number of families become severely distressed to find out that their mother, say, had a stroke in the early hours of the morning, then waited to alert anyone until normal waking hours because they “didn’t want to bother anybody.” Problem is, strokes need immediate attention.

I had someone say to me last week, “It’s harder to do things for myself than others.” Problem is, she was talking about quitting smoking, and most people agree that ASAP is best for that.

Running on Empty

Finally, let’s not forget that you need adequate resources in your own supply. Otherwise, you won’t have much to give when you need to draw from it. The basics of nutrition, exercise and sleep: taking good care of yourself leaves you something in reserve.

It Ain’t Easy

It can be awfully difficult, though, to think about putting yourself first most of the time.

Stress reduction may seem frivolous. It’s easier to feel externally validated by constantly giving: giving time, giving attention, giving money — especially in these days of “virtue signalling.”

It’s also very difficult to change ingrained habits, and to hold the vision and motivation firm enough to maintain good changes.

Finally, it can be crazy-hard to say no! This article backs up the power of “no,” and gives some great suggestions of how to get there.

But It’s Worth It

I’ve heard people discuss who’s been barely functioning on less sleep, who was in a harder-off financial position, as if these were things to be proud of… well, not in my books.

Personally, I’d rather stay frugal with my valuable resources of time, energy, and even money. That way I can conserve those resources and have something available for when I truly want or need to give. I feel that it makes the process of giving more authentic.

Being more rested and centered also allows me to work more effectively. Then I’m better able to help improve the quality of life for each of my clients and class members.

Back to You Now

What do you think? Am I a complete outlier here? Do you see value in this point of view? Please contact me to keep the discussion going – or if your Present Help needs a little help staying on a good path.