04 January 2016

My Word for 2016: Selfish

I know what you’re probably thinking: “What an odd and questionable word to focus on for a year” but let me explain…

Yes, in most respects, the word “selfish” brings a multitude of negative connotations. As our parents raised us, we were taught to not be selfish with our toys and the things we have. We’re often scolded by most people in society for not doing enough for others, for only looking out for number one and how caring for the masses produces a better community for us all. Many times as working mothers, we’re looked down upon or considered “selfish” if we choose family and our children over our jobs. Indeed, selfish is a word that people love to hate.

But why? Have we ever considered how being a little bit selfish in our daily lives can actually be a good thing?

Last year was a whirlwind for me. We moved, Michael and I both started new jobs and Maddy transitioned into a new school. Amongst all of this change and adjustment, I was stretching myself thin with this blog, my employer, friends and other responsibilities. Trust me when I say that the last person I was focused on was me.

And I regret that.

In an attempt to keep everyone else happy, I forgot myself. I forgot my own joys and happiness, to take care of myself and my emotional and mental health. It’s easy to do as a mom; life gets crazy, the kids and husband are a priority and you’re stuck somewhere in the middle trying to make everyone happy…except yourself. Just because it happens easily doesn’t make it right so for 2016, I’m focusing on the positive side of selfish.

Selfish with my time. Time has to be one of the most precious commodities in our daily lives. Having said this, I no longer have time to put my energies towards people, situations and activities that aren’t worth my time. Every person and every activity that I devote myself and my time to that takes me away from either my family or other responsibilities, should be a mutually beneficial investment meaning, my time is spent in meaningful ways. Does this mean saying “No” more? Yep. Does this mean turning down offers for my blog if they don’t fit my niche but may get me a temporary boost in readership and exposure? Absolutely. My time is valuable. It has worth. This year I plan on utilizing it to my benefit instead of it being my detriment.

Selfish with my “me time” and self-care. I could go on and on about how I’m worth it blah, blah, blah but the truth is, when I’m not focused on taking care of me, everything else suffers and while yes, my family deserves me at my best, I deserve to feel my best. When we become mothers, we get sold a horrible bill of goods that we have to sacrifice everything, including ourselves and our own well-being, to be a “good mother” and what a load of shit that is. The one taking care of everyone should always take care of herself first. I have never been good at doing this but in 2016, I intend to learn how.

Selfish with my friendships. Friendships are a tricky thing and if we’re being honest, there’s no grey area. Friends can either uplift or be a blessing or they can drain you, leaving you for empty. I’ve made the mistake of investing in friendships that ended up being toxic for me but in 2016, it’s a new day. It’s time for me to start being selfish with whom I share myself and trust. There’s certainly nothing wrong with looking out for yourself in this regard.

Selfish with my employer. As a working mom, I’m always teetering the line of keeping my employer happy while trying to find balance at home and in life and honestly, there have been more times than I’d like to admit where my employer won the balancing act. Working late, bringing work home and merely giving time to talking about work at home and outside of the office has to stop. The hard reality is that no one is paying me extra to work at home in the evenings. There is nothing so important that I do in a day at the office that should have precedence in my life once I leave for the day. I need to be selfish enough for me and my family to say that work has me from 8 – 3:30 but that’s it. When I walk out the door, it all gets left behind.

In a lot of ways, I’m an advocate for being selfish but these are the top four things I plan to focus on this year to improve my life and well-being moving forward. While being selfish does have a negative side, I’d argue that being selfish in all the right ways can mean everything to our peace of mind and betterment of life.

In what ways could you be a little more selfish to improve or enhance your life?
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup

Courtney is a published author, mom, taco enthusiast, and a Star Wars and Tennessee Volunteers fanatic. She's never met a piece of sushi she didn’t like and enjoys an amazing glass of wine and a great cut of meat. You can read more of her wine-induced, sleep-deprived adventures on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy.

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