The word selfish has a bad rap. It brings to mind going for what you want without considering the effects on others, concerned only with your own pleasure or profit. But soul selfish is the exact opposite of that. When we care for ourselves and feel full and complete, our love, fun and service overflow to others, happily benefiting them and ourselves.
Women especially are conditioned to give. But consider how it would feel to continually exhale without inhaling. And why do airlines suggest that we put our facemasks on first, before assisting others? Giving that is motivated by desire is a hugely different experience from giving out of obligation. Are we giving simply because we want to or are we seeking something in return?
Soul selfish means self-love. It is the key to personal happiness. Taking care of our health and beauty, feeling fulfilled in developing and utilizing our talents, prioritizing pleasure and balancing work and relaxation ultimately contribute to our families, friends and communities. When we take care of our deepest desires, what is good for us will be good for others. When we are lit up, we shine our light on all!
So how do we do this? How do we become soul selfish?
1. Take 20 minutes of quiet time alone to listen to what’s on your mind — of course, without judgment! Sit, walk or run. Whatever your choice, just listen to your thoughts.
2. Do some inner house cleaning. Can you imagine how your house would look if you didn’t clean it regularly? The same is true of your inner home. If any “dirt” surfaces during that quiet time, think of an action to let it go. Cry, punch a pillow, have a clarifying or healing talk as soon as possible. Take exquisite care of your inner home. It’s where you live!
3. Remind yourself of what you are grateful for. Once you start, you will be surprised at how your list keeps growing, and how good it feels to focus on your good fortune. No matter what your immediate circumstance, there is always something to appreciate — a book you read that touched you, an unexpected invitation. Gratitude is a guaranteed way to feel blessed.
4. Take an action that makes you feel beautiful. Soak in a bubble bath, have a facial, style your hair, go to a department store for a make-up consult. Put on an outfit that makes you feel sexy. Beauty is power at every age!
5. Move! Do something physical. Connect with your body. Walk, play a sport, dance around your living room! Often we resist moving, but once we get started we are glad we did.
6. Connect with someone you love every day – a mate or partner, a child, a friend, a teacher. Keep your heart open wide daily!
7. Who do you like to be with? What work or hobbies interest you? What do you want to see or do? These are important questions to explore. Call someone you enjoy and haven’t seen in a while. Is there an interest you’re still waiting to pursue? Are there places near or far that you want to visit? If near, make it happen. If far away, what can you do now towards making that trip a reality?
8. Exercise your creativity. Newness is a balm to the soul. Cook a delicious meal. Design a bouquet of flowers. Plan a special event or an outing. Put a new outfit together. Draw. Paint. Dance. Sing. Play. Hint: Watch your grandchildren. They know how to play and have fun.
9. Notice opportunities for new activities, people, places. Is there anything you want to learn? Perhaps join a writing group, a cooking class, a community outreach. Meeting new people of all ages is broadening and enriching. You never know how interests and relationships develop once you take that first step.
10. Enjoy your sensual self. All your senses. Surround yourself with beauty. Music that thrills you. Foods that delight you. Scents that please you. Lots of hugs. The touch of a loved one. Enjoy the pleasure of your beautiful body.
The first step is essential — 20 minutes of daily quiet time to keep your inner house clean. Then day after day, listen to your thoughts. Make your desire list your reality. Remember: Life is filled with endless possibilities for joy, connection and creativity. What on this list speaks to you most?
Jane Wyker, author of Soul Selfish, was a pioneer in parent education, family counselor and Fortune 500 companies presenter. She raised four children while pursuing her own spiritual growth. http://janewyker.com/