Monica Marie Jones
The Benefits of Selfishness
As a young adult I auditioned for a hip hop dance company. I was excited about continuing my dance career after college and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I was confident that I would make the cut because of my many years of formal dance training and experience. Once we learned the choreography, instead of practicing alone to make sure I’d mastered it, I began helping others who were struggling. I’d always believed that the best way to learn something is to teach it, so I divided my concentration to support other dancers who asked me for help. When it was my turn to perform, I had trouble remembering the steps. I had spent too much time assisting others and not enough time making sure I had the movements committed to memory. When the company made their selections, the young woman who I spent most of my time helping made the cut, and I did not. I was happy for her, but I was so crushed that I felt like crying. I learned a very important lesson that day. It’s ok to focus on yourself first. Some may call it selfish, but one of my mental health heroes, Alandra Chuney-Jackson, founder of The Sisters’ Couch, taught me that selfish is not a bad word. We often shy away from putting ourselves first, but imagine how much more fully and effectively we could show up for others if we prioritize our own well-being. Those in our care would much more likely prefer a well-rested, healed, energized and fully present version of us. We do so much with our tanks on empty, imagine how far we could go if our fuel chamber was full. Here are a few strategies that will support you as you consider prioritizing your care for yourself. Offer the Overflow. Everything in your figurative cup, filled to the brim, is for you. You can only give from the overflow, or you will find yourself empty. Whether it is money, time, or attention, make sure your cup is filled first, and only give to others when you have more than enough to offer. Access Allowance. Everyone doesn’t have to have access to you all the time. You don’t have to respond to every text, call, or request for help immediately. One quick and simple way to set a boundary around this is to turn off the read receipt on your text messages. If people know the moment you read their message, they may feel entitled to a timelier response. There are no text message response standards. Respond when you have the emotional and energetic capacity, which you get to define. Stop Self-Selfishness. In high school I was friends with a girl who had an old soul and would always say, “Don’t be selfish with yourself.” To avoid coming off as selfish to others, we often transfer those traits to how we treat ourselves. Give yourself permission to be selfish. I know that as parents, caregivers, or those in human service fields it is challenging to remember, but you can do something that is just for you every now and then. This week I challenge you to prioritize your needs without feelings of shame or guilt. The better you become for you, the better you can be for those you love. These acts of radical self-love also permit you to model for others how to practice the same loving care and self-compassion for themselves. Manifestation Affirmations I am centering myself so that I can be of highest and best service to others. I am my priority. I am worthy of my own undivided attention and unconditional love.
Master Your Mindset to Manifest a Life You Love. Most Sincerely, Monica Marie Jones Your Soul Journey Guide