Get Your Priorities Straight
Being selfish or self-centered is not a desirable trait. However, there is a difference in being unable to connect to others and respecting their wants and needs, and taking care of yourself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with loving yourself and doing what is best for you. This does not equal being self-absorbed and hurting others.
It is not possible to live life to its fullest and to create lasting happiness without learning how to love and take care of you first, as well as learning to get one’s priorities straight.
How we define happiness and what our priorities are is different for each and every one of us. But there are priorities that probably apply for most people, regardless of value system, beliefs or tendencies.
First, take care of your body. Being healthy contributes to feelings of well-being, confidence and success. In order to achieve health, I included cutting out as much fast food, processed foods, sugar, white flour and high fructose corn syrup containing items as possible. I eat more raw fruits and vegetables and do my very best to limit my carb intake to whole grains. A few other things I changed consisted of eating butter versus margarine, drinking more water (I shoot for at least 2 liters a day) and herbal teas and cutting out caffeine, sodas and coffee.
When I do have a soda or coffee, I literally treat it like a dessert, and hence, do it rarely. I quit smoking, I don’t drink alcohol and I work out regularly. I prefer working out with trainers, because they keep me motivated, make sure I don’t injure myself and they mix up the routines enough for my body to keep getting challenged. I work out at least four days a week and I mix cardio with strength training. Working out is hard, but it tends to make me feel euphoric afterwards. I also have more strength, stamina and less back, shoulder and neck pains.
Another very important step for taking care of one’s body is getting regular check-ups and physical exams.
Take care of your mind. The mind is a terrible thing to waste, so I try to keep abreast on current world affairs. I read more instead of only watching TV. I write more and I enjoy challenging conversations and debates. I also do cognitive behavioral therapy once a week. This actively teaches me how to reprogram “bad” responses, how to overcome triggers and most importantly, how to set proper boundaries and priorities. Personally, I believe that most people would benefit from therapy. I believe that the world would be a better place if more people would take responsibility for their own actions and words, versus repeating patterns and blaming others. Alas, I digress.
Taking care of your emotions. Doing what feels good for the heart is always a good idea. Sadly, a lot of people are completely disconnected from their heart and are either numb, or absolutely incapable of relating to others. This is where being selfish is not desirable; namely when you force your own stuff on others, in order to make yourself feel better or right. Therapy, again, falls into the category of things that are good for your heart; so does working out. Of course, engaging in healthy relationships with friends and lovers is highly important. If you don’t have the tool to know what is healthy or what is not, find something that will help you do so.
Taking care of your spirit. Well, this one depends. Not everyone believes in something. But for me, even an atheist can take care of their spirit. I feel meditation is an excellent tool, so is Yoga.
Obviously, everything within us is interconnected; mind, body, spirit, heart and will. We should strive for balance, as balance within those elements will generally bring true happiness and well-being. Doing activities that support the five elements is always a good idea and yes, it should be all about you. If you want a life worth living, then start making it about you and get your priorities straight!