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This week was chock-full (where did that saying come from?) of stuff coming up for me. All of it I’ve looked at before and delved into it, but this time I knew it wasn’t a reminder. It was an invitation to go deeper, go through another layer, take another ride on the Merry Go Round.

The horses that I would ride on my beautiful red with gold gild carousel would be called Selfishness and Self-Respect. If I could give my love to both horses at the same time I would, however, I can only fully focus on one at a time. Thus I will do so:

Self-Respect

The class I’m in right now focuses on helping women gain employment skills and increase self-confidence and self-esteem. A common theme became evident in a classroom conversation when the teachers were out of class: All of us had met and dated men that did not respect women.

Many of us agreed that there definitely are men out there that respect women. Just how do we meet one?

I explained what we had noticed and put the following question to one of my good friends and sometimes mentor. “Why is it that we all seem to be  experiencing men who don’t respect women?”

Her response was a question: “How many of the women in your group respect themselves?”

Thinking about it, not many of us do. We are in the process of learning to respect ourselves. It shows through the significant differences that have emerged among all the women from our first day to now from the way we act, speak, and are taking care of ourselves.

On the flip side, how can I expect others to respect me if I don’t respect myself?

I began evaluating my life. How am I not respecting myself? What does it look like to respect myself? How would I define respect?

Here are some of the things that came to mind for me:

Boundaries. Trusting myself. Following my heart and my intuition. Giving myself what I need: space to contemplate and process, silence. Taking care of myself first.

What would it look like to respect myself? In all honesty, I’m not sure. I imagine I would feel empowered and strong. Guarding my boundaries would be second nature. I would know how I am feeling and how to respectfully state it. My voice would be used appropriately and be heard.

How am I not respecting myself? Boundaries are huge for me and learning what it is that I am feeling.

Its so important that to know what I am emotionally feeling. Often times I need a while to identify and process what I feel. As much as I would like to rush this process I need to allow it to flow. This will make my life easier, and when I am in relationships I will be able to better handle myself. It will become clearer to me why I am making the choices I choose.

Following my heart and intuition I feel I’m doing okay on. It is usually easier for me to follow my intuition but it gets cloudy when I don’t have the space that I need to allow my heart and intuition to speak.

Selfishness

It seems that we are programmed in Western Society to believe that taking care of ourselves first is selfish, and that selfishness is bad bad bad! I believe this to be a faulty thought pattern. As a healer I often hear, witness and fall victim to the thought that I must be selfless and therefore all that I possibly can to others. This is not true.

It came to my awareness last year that taking care of myself leads to me taking even better care of others. It made it okay for me to do what I need to do and not drop everything I was doing for other people. It was okay to ensure that I had a bit of time for myself each day.

I have noticed that still to this day I will allow other people to have more presence in my life than what I would personally like. For me one of the biggest acts of selfishness is taking myself away from others in time and in presence. This is also one of the healthiest things that I can do for myself.

Selfishness is a behavior that is trained out of us though that can benefit many. It allows us to clarify what we desire and want. It allows us to create and to be. It allows us to know ourselves.

Selfishness is not bad when it is not in the egotistical extreme. It is a good thing in many cases. We are living on this planet for ourselves, not for others. Yes, we may help others a long our way which is an experience that can create sensations of goodness, but ultimately our life needs to be lived for us. If we let others rule our life will we truly find happiness, contentment or joy?

Is it selfish that as a healer I will reschedule a session with a client if I do not feel that I can be fully present? A year ago I wouldn’t have, but now it is simply that I cannot give them a quality session when I am in a poor emotional, mental or physical state. This action takes care of myself and provides my client a better quality service.

As much as I have grown in this regard I still take better care of other people than I do myself.

Often I treat people in my life how I want to be treated, however I don’t treat myself nearly as well. Rarely do I spoil myself in ways that make my soul sing. It is easy for my boundaries to become mucky and my voice go unheard. Often experiences of silence that soothe my soul more than anything else disappear. Space that I require to process and contemplate I choose to relinquish because I want to spend time with others.

I love them more than I love me it seems.

Taking care of myself will automatically create self-respect and trust.

By being “selfish” I know that no matter what is happening in my life I will consistently take care of myself. Therefore I can trust that my needs are being met. Self-respect will grow.

The act of sacrificing a part of me because its “right” or because it will help someone no longer exists. I will stay whole, and I will stay me.

My horses seem to be brother and sister. Perhaps they are the beautiful chestnut horses that pull the carriage on my Merry Go Round. When I work with one the other becomes stronger, and vice versa. I love that they are so inter-related!

What do you think self-respect is? Thoughts on selfishness?

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