Me, me, me
"It's all about me! I want, I need, I will!" When was the last time you demanded to be recognised, to be heard, to be valued? When was it all about you? When we are children we are quickly discouraged from being the centre of our world. This seems reasonable - no-one likes a spoilt brat, a self-centred selfish individual who only thinks of themselves, excluding the thoughts and feelings of others. On the other hand, what do we think of those who are selfless? Martyr, doormat, 'yes men'? We are often as derogatory about those who do not put themselves first as those we perceive as pushy or egotistical. It could be argued that both sets of individuals are missing out on something; the selfish on the inclusion and acceptance of others into their lives and the compliant on the sense of self that enables them to feel included and accepted by others into their lives. It's about self-love, which is a very different concept to being selfish but unfortunately gets lost in translation in our learning as we grow up.
When we put ourselves first we are better able to accept the needs of others because we accept our own needs. When we put ourselves first we are better able to understand and value how others are feeling because we accept and value our own feelings. We become aware that we are the authors of our lives and responsible for our thoughts, feelings and behaviours and how we manage them. We can show ourselves compassion for mistakes we may have made in our lives enabling us to offer forgiveness to others in their mistakes.
We might not always appear 'sweetness and light', putting our foot down to get another’s attention. When we value and love ourselves there is an expectation that others will value us - that we are valuable. This might seem like a risky and contrary thing to do, yet valuing yourself is the first step in getting others to value you too. Our vocabulary changes when we encounter those who love and value themselves. We use words and phrases like; natural leaders, wise, generous, salt of the earth, etc. We are often pleased to have people like these in our lives. It is the people that said, "I will" who have made the biggest contributions to our histories, good and bad, valuing themselves and their ideas.
Everything is about balance and the same can be said about self-love and putting ourselves first. When we do take a risk and make even the smallest change the rewards can be both amazing and unexpected. People may smile warmly at you and say, "Good choice." They might also frown and become unusually quiet, reviewing their opinion of you in light of new information. You might be surprised more at your own reaction than those of the other people, you made a choice that was about you and you might be feeling good.
Action for the Month
What do you want to do, to say, to choose?
It's all about you.
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