2016 is a very selfish year for me. I’m unashamedly putting myself first. Focusing on my development, my growth and my happiness. Allocating my money to professional leadership training and exercise physio sessions. Dedicating my time to work, my learning and my time slouching on the couch.
I make no apologies. I know full well that by choosing to do this, I’m also making a choice to not do other things. Not to go on any holidays this year. Not to check out all the cute new bars in Adelaide. Not to go out for dinner with friends. Not to go out on dates. Not to have my usual barista-made coffee of a morning.
It’s not that I don’t have money or time, it’s that I’m choosing to use it differently. I’m choosing to change the way I spend my time and money to reflect the changes in my priorities.
Here’s where it gets hard.
While we live in an a world full of individuals, we tend to frown upon people who put themselves first. It’s okay to drop a bunch of cash on a fancy dinner with friends because it doesn’t go against the status quo, but spend time and money on something that only benefits you… well that’s another story.
I’m generalising, but you get the idea.
Prioritising personal gain over friendships? Selfish, bad.
Giving all your time and energy at the expense of your health and wellbeing? Selfless, admirable even.
Being selfless may be admirable, but it’s not sustainable. Value yourself so you can value others. [Tweet this]
We burn ourselves out trying to do better, be better. Especially those of us who fall (so easily) into the trap of presuming we must run ourselves into the ground to do good things.
Like the only way to show we’re working hard and improving the world is late nights, excessive coffee consumption and “I’m SO busy” on repeat.
The reality? You are your best asset. You are no good to anyone else if you aren’t looking after yourself.
Look after you.
This whole thing is uncomfortable. If you choose to divide your time differently, it will impact others. Your relationships may change. You will say no a lot.
You might feel you need to say sorry, to come up with an excuse, a reason.
But, you know what? You don’t have to justify diddly squat.
You don’t need a reason. You are allowed to cancel plans and sit on the couch in your pjs if it makes you feel good.
Why do we do things anyway?
Does it make you happy? Does it feel good? Does it fit with your values? Does it help you in anyway? Does it improve your physical, emotional or mental state (or at the very least does it keep it stable)?
If you answer no to the above, know that you are still making a choice. It may not be an easy choice, but it is a decision. You are in control of your life.
A note on friendships
Maybe it’s an unpopular opinion, but I will always put myself first in my relationships.
And I expect my friends and family to do the same. It’s not about how ‘good’ you are as a friend or how much you value the other person, it’s about both people being on equal footing.
The way I see it, it’s all about compromises. Sometimes I can be the friend that drops everything, returns phone calls straight away, is there to supply wine, chocolate, hugs. But this means I invest more of my time and energy – both emotional and physical.
Sometimes I’m the friend you don’t hear from in a while, that doesn’t text back, that flakes out on catch-ups. But this means I become a bit of a hermit, I get invited out less, I miss out on valuable time spent with friends.
Give and take. No right, no wrong, just choices to make.
When you recognise that schedules don’t magically fill up, that obligations and responsibilities don’t just materialise from thin air, that by spending time on one thing you’re missing out on another, that you have the power to make decisions about your life, you have an opportunity.
So many opportunities.
I’m sure you’ve seen or heard a version of the saying below. Powerful words to live by.
So, choose you.