As young children, one of the first behaviors parents teach and encourage is the action of sharing. Secondly, they urge children to care for or about others feelings and happiness. These are all admirable traits to instill in children to help them grow into kind and caring adults. The world would be a terrible place if no one shared resources and cared only for themselves or what they desired.
As young adults, we spend the next 20-25 years pursuing successful careers, raising families and living the good life. This requires long hours at work and then onto the needs and wants of children or families. Over the years, we begin to neglect our health and well being because we haven’t got the time or energy it requires. By neglect, I mean we do not place ourselves high on our list of priorities. This type of behavior carries over into middle age, where we find ourselves feeling tired, overweight and stressed out. We sleep poorly, eat poorly and move poorly. We physically appear beat down from years of putting others first in our lives.
As middle age adults, health issues start to creep into our lives with a diagnosis of hypertension, diabetes or metabolic syndrome. The doctor prescribes a pill and tells us to take better care of our health. Worse yet, we get the news that a close friend just died of a heart attack. This might be our wake up call.
For some, life will go on as it always has. Health issues are just a by product of getting older and Aunt Mary had diabetes and high blood pressure and lived to be 70. What’s forgotten is quality of her life. How after 20 or 30 years of caring for others do you start to care for yourself? How do YOU fit into your list of priorities?
When you have to make health a priority, you struggle with the feeling of selfishness. After all, you were taught to be unselfish because no one likes a selfish person. It is a horrible personality trait to posses. Maybe, the first thing you should do is examine your perception of what it means to be selfish.
Your energy affects those around you. You bring energy to every situation in life. Constantly being stressed out and running on low energy impacts your ability to be truly present with those around you. To be the best version of yourself, you need to have “good” energy. By having “good” energy, you transfer that to those you come in contact with. Taking the time to rest, play and recover recharges energy and makes it available to others. That is a gift worth sharing.
By loving/caring for yourself, you will better love/care for others. Paying partial attention to yourself makes a partial version of yourself available to friends and family. You will help many more people if you can love/care for yourself first. If your needs are met then you can better focus on meeting other’s needs. You will gain a wealth of knowledge by finding out what helps you to be your best version and will be able to share this with those involved in your life.
Taking the time to eat well, exercise, and sleep will help keep you healthy and vibrant. You want to be the most vital person you can be and bring that vitality to others. You will be a better parent, spouse, friend and employee. Find what brings you joy or vitality and do it everyday. Your happiness then will spill over to others.
If you look up the word selfish in the dictionary it means lacking consideration for others; concern chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure. By taking care of your health and wellness are you really being selfish or is it the other way around? By not caring for yourself, are you being selfish to those who love you or who are important in your life? As the New Year approaches and you want/need to make a health change, think about what this word really means. By making yourself a priority, you will be creating the best version of yourself to share with others.