When we think of life balance we imagine having more time for ourselves, taking better care of our health and spending more time with loved ones.
Often when we struggle to create more room for what we want externally it is because it’s in direct conflict with who we think we “should” be, or what we think we “ought” to be doing. What is wanted externally conflicts with internal beliefs and expectations.
One of the most common beliefs that impede that path towards balance is that being selfish is bad or wrong. People grow up in an environment where the very thought of putting yourself first is completely unacceptable. It is ingrained that value and self-worth comes from being productive and putting others first. People live their entire lives needing to be productive because their whole identity is dependant on it. Unfortunately they disconnect from what it is to be a human being and in turn live like a human doing.
A question I often ask my clients at this point is, “Who would you be if you weren’t productive?” This is often a daunting question that has my client stop in her tracks, suddenly considering the unknown. If I am not productive, then who am I? This can be an epiphanous, exciting and scary moment all at the same time.
The client stands at the cusp of exploring a deeper sense of Self that has always been available to her. It is a chance to feel empowered perhaps for the first time, truly empowered, because the opportunity lies to let go of the need to create self-worth from what is done for others. She is now in a position to accept her value and worth as an inherent quality that is within and which is not dependant on anyone or anything.
One moves from forbidding selfishness to seeing it as the path to true living. In fact, selfishness is now seen as self-care. Now she is in a position to be at choice in her life to say Yes to herself first and therefore No to those things that would normally distract her from doing so. She learns that it is only by giving to herself that she can truly give to others and experience a truly fulfilling life.
A question to ponder:
What are you giving to others that you have yet to give to yourself?
Photo by Michael Lorenzo