The BS Files are kinda like the X-files – full of myths and urban legends and mysterious things. I feel that it is my duty to tackle them (occasionally). Because, you know, the truth is out there. It’s been a while since we’ve visited the case files, and it’s time, because I keep encountering this one.
Case #7. Being selfish is bad. Bullsh*t!
There are a few versions of this one. You can substitute any other word that sounds similar, such as self-indulgent, self-care, self-concern, self-love. I’d say we could throw in self-confident as well.
This myth begins to rear its very ugly head somewhere around middle school for most people, when we learn that being conceited or vain or egocentric are among the worst things we could possibly be. In order to fit in, we learn to diminish ourselves. We build a whole belief system about how important it is to ignore our own wants and needs if we want to really be a good person. Here’s my big ass assumption – we all want to be a good person.
Many of our beliefs are formed in extremes as we grow up. By that, I mean that we teach ourselves what works by experimenting with extreme pendulum swings, until we find the balance that is true for ourselves. (Think about the things you said to provoke your parents when you came home from college for Thanksgiving!)
We try on extremes to find out what really suits us. And then we update our belief system to match. Oh wait, do we?
Some of us do, many of us don’t. Some of us learn that there is such a thing as healthy self-love, self-confidence and self-care, and it has absolutely nothing to do with egotism, vanity or narcissism.
Once we know that, like everything else in life, self-stuff is a balancing act that’s when we should update our beliefs accordingly. Remember, beliefs are just thoughts that we think a lot, and they shape how we see and experience the world.
But many of us never go back and question whether those beliefs that we developed as a young person are actually true for adults. We beat ourselves up with guilt if we show even the smallest signs of self-love or self consideration. I mean, I want to take care of myself, I just feel so guilty! Guilt is such a great flogger, isn’t it? (ooh, I have my next BS File topic!)
Truth: You are a person. You need love, care, respect and consideration, just like any other person. Sometimes you are the person who needs to do it.
Truth: Taking care of yourself does not make you a bad person. Not taking care of yourself does not make you a good person.
Truth: You’re an adult, and you know it’s all about balance.
Truth: Love is love is love. That includes self-love.
And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!
Love and light,