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Episode 195: It's OK To Be Selfish

I'm sure you've heard the phrase "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." It's a phrase based on something that Jesus supposedly said in the sermon on the mount. A way of living that means looking at how you would like to be treated and treating other people the same way so that we can all live happily ever after.
Sounds great. But I do think some people might need to start closer to home, and do unto themselves as they would do unto others. Chances are you're already a decent person who respects others. But in order to have good self-esteem we need to ensure that we also have the same respect ourself. That's not overly selfish, it's not doing anyone a disservice if we put our own needs first.

Even if you've never read it you're probably aware of the UN declaration of human rights. Article one states:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
I'm sure you agree with that. So if you don't apply that to yourself then you're literally going against the UN declaration of human rights, and I doubt you ever set out to do that.
According to the this, it doesn’t matter where we are born or what sort of a family we are born into. We should ALL be given the same opportunities and be given a fair shot at a life well lived. This applies to you too.
Treat yourself well.
Because that's how other people will know how to treat us. We teach them by example. By treating ourselves badly we show them how to disrespect or mistreat us.
It might be important to sit down and consider the question "How do I want to be treated?" so that we can get an understanding of our needs.
In doing that we can see what might be missing from a part of our lives. It might be compassion, understanding, honesty and fairness. If so, we can start to treat ourselves that way first and see what that's like.
It starts with understanding where your values are. Is it time with your family? A catch up with close friends? Is it on demand TV? or Norwegian heavy metal music? Learn to understand yourself well so as to see what you value and where you gain pleasure in life.

As a one to one therapist I have clients that come to see me in person for an hour in my clinic. It might take them 30 minutes to get to me and 30 minutes to get back home or to work. So their therapy sessions may well take up 2 hours of their day. But sometimes I'll ask them about the things that make them happy or we'll talk about relaxation exercises for them to practise at home and they'll say.
"I didn't have the time."
When I question this they might say something like "Well, therapy is important to me, I value the time I spend with you."
How about we value the time we spend with ourselves too. Wouldn't that be even better? To create a life that we don't feel we need to go on holiday to escape from. Rather than wishing our life away, one year to the next.
But it starts with understanding it. Often we think our life as having 3 areas. 3 priorities that everything else can shoot off from.
Work, Rest and Play.
Most things can fall into one of those categories. Your Career if you have, need or even want one, your studies, your relationships, your sense of self, those morals and values.
If we can sit down on a Saturday morning and think about what we'd like to see happen over the next 7 days in those 3 categories we might find we have some positive influence over our life.
Almost like a to do list. What, if anything, do you want to see happen in your work over the next 7 days, what do you want to see happen with your friendships and family your relationships with people?
And what about you? What about the play? Are you making time for yourself? And if not, what are you going to do this week to make it happen? Even if it's just for the weekend.
Sometimes all I want from a weekend is to spend some time reading a book, that's my only goal. But another weekend it might be to clean the house. Or tidy the garden.
Something can be fulfilling even if it's relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things but is still significant to you.
The problem is that until you know what actually IS significant to you, rather than a cultural idea of significance, then you can't feel satisfied.
So, if you need to, make a note of maybe 3 things about your work that you want to see happen over the next 7 days, 3 things about resting and recharging and 3 things about recharging through play, whatever "play" means to you.
And I wonder if you can then start seeing your life through much more positive eyes.