Don’t be Afraid to be a little Selfish

Busy working on yourself, for yourself? Feeling like you’re making some pretty ‘selfish’ decisions based on your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual state? – I can totally relate.  

Being selfish is a sin in today’s society, we’re always encouraged to say “yes” to stuff that actually, maybe we really don’t want to do (I mean, have you seen Yes Man?) … but what’s the point?

Is doing something that you don’t want to to do making you happy? Or are you serving somebody else’s wants and needs? And if so, why?

Why do you feel the need to live up to somebody else’s expectations?

Have you thought that maybe your need to say “yes” to everyone and everything stems from your own insecurities? Maybe subconsciously you feel as though you’re not good enough if you’re not doing what is apparently ‘expected’ of you. (I know that I feel like that sometimes.)

This week I have been seeing a lot flying around about the topic of selfishness and the importance of doing what’s best for you and your body.

So this morning, whilst lying in savasana after a soft flow practice, I gave some thought to this idea of selfishness and I was reminded of the yogic term Ahimsa.

Ahimsa is the ancient philosophy which is often translated to mean non-harming, non-violence, and compassion towards ourselves and all other beings.

According to Gandhi, Ahimsa is our “highest duty, even if we can not practice it in full, we must try to understand its spirit and refrain as far as humanly possible from violence.”

When you think about it, doing something that you don’t want to do negatively impacts how you feel. That negativity translates into a form of violence towards ourselves. Perhaps whatever you don’t want to do is making you stressed or anxious. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that stress and anxiety can have some serious effects on your health (for example, my hair starts to fall out).

Or maybe you’re concerned about what might happen if you decide to say no, maybe you’re scared of how the other person involved might react. At the end of the day, I always tell myself that the way someone reacts to a decision you’ve made is their prerogative. How you feel about yourself and how you feel about the way you’ve handled the situation is what’s most important.

If freeing yourself from something that you seriously did not feel called to do makes you feel happier within yourself, then that’s all that really should matter.

By practicing ahimsa, we learn what our truth is. We learn who we are and what’s important to us, it opens up new pathways of growth and self -discovery. By being ‘selfish’ and saying “no”, we make room to “YES” to things that we actually want to do, it gives us the capability of saying “YES” to opportunities that align with our being!

So as you go throughout the month of April, I encourage you to think about what it is that you truly want. Think about what’s holding you back from being ‘selfish’, saying “no” and doing what’s best for you, for you! Because by doing this, we learn to be compassionate to ourselves and therefore we can learn to be more compassionate towards others, without jeopardising our own happiness.

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