How Selfish are You? (Part 1 of 2)

You would not believe the bad luck I’ve had lately. Can hardly believe it myself.

One night last week I was watching television. It got later and later but I just kept watching it, even though I knew I should go to bed. I watched TV until 5:30 am, then I slept for an hour and a half. When my daughter Matrix Chick tried to wake me I snarled at her and she started crying.  Boy was I tired and grumpy!

Since I woke up late I didn’t get to eat breakfast before work. By the time I was done with my first client I was starving! There was some Halloween candy in the lobby of my building so I ate a bunch of candy corn, Tootsie Rolls and mini Three Musketeers.  If I thought I felt bad  before, I had another thing coming – I developed a horrible stomach ache!  Can you believe that!?

During my session with my next client, she actually got up and said, “I’m leaving because you keep falling asleep while I’m talking to you.  And why don’t you wipe that chocolate off of your chin?” What nerve! Can you believe the bad luck?

It seemed as if I was doomed to have a wretched day so I cancelled the rest of my appointments and went home determined to force myself to work like a dog on computer stuff that’s been piling up. I worked all afternoon. My wife came home with the kids but I kept on working. She said that dinner was ready but I kept on working. She said that dinner’s done would I help clean the kitchen but I kept on working. She asked if I would help put the kids to bed but I just had too much to do! Then she got really angry with me and we had a big fight. Can you believe the rotten luck I had that day?

If you know me then by now you may have guessed  that none of that really happened (I don’t like candy corn.)  But if it was true you might be saying “You didn’t have bad luck, you were just being irresponsible!” And that would be true.

In the imaginary scenario I just described, it can be summed up like this: I was not being responsible for my own self care. Taken to that extreme, I would say that I was being negligent; neglecting my own basic needs, therefore, I ended up neglecting  the needs of those I love.

I’ve come to the conclusion that self-care is vitally important and necessary to leading a happy and fulfilling life.

How is your basic self-care? Are you getting enough sleep? Eating right? Taking care of your health? If you are neglecting any one of these, chances are that you are seeing the consequences in some part of your life.

But let me suggest that self-care doesn’t end there. There is another level:  Are you learning? Growing, spiritually, mentally, emotionally? Are you having fun, experiencing joy, and giving yourself opportunities to become the best you can be? Paying attention to your loved ones?

 Jim Rohn said “The greatest gift you can give to somebody is your own personal development. I used to say, ‘If you will take care of me, I will take care of you.’ Now I say, ‘I will take care of me for you if you will take care of you for me.'” –

For many, the idea of being good to yourself or taking care of yourself flies in the face of everything we have been taught about being selfish. “Don’t think about yourself, think about others. Help others. Care for others. Don’t be selfish by focusing or thinking  too much about yourself.

We are all selfish on a most basic level. Everything we do we do, we do because we get something out of it. This is one of our drives as human beings. I’m not advocating living your life totally for your own pleasure and amusement, I’m suggesting that living your life for everyone else may leave you wasted, burned out and resentful and no good to anyone, least of all you! After all, you’re no good to your child on an airplane if you are passed out because you put their oxygen mask on first. You’ve got to take care of yourself first.

I think that much of life is about balance. And the hard cold truth is, it’s not easy to do. In fact, for some of us, it may be easier to live for everybody else because it gives us an excuse to shirk responsibility for our selves and our needs, especially if that was your model growing up. If that is the case, it can be really hard to do something else.

More next week, and please view my Happy Halloween post.

2 replies
  1. Natalie J. Moreno
    Natalie J. Moreno says:

    What an excellent blog today. Even I (your wife) believed you and the lesson really hit home. I admit, I’m pretty selfish.

  2. therese
    therese says:

    Good one Ted,

    LOL I was thinking wow what a day, I also really needed to read about taking care of myself so I can be a better caretaker. It is difficult to feel I deserve it ,but I know I do. Thanks

Comments are closed.