When we came into this world as infants, we were very focused on having our immediate needs met. Life was simple. With more “socialization”, we began to respond to those around us and our thoughts turned outward. Our parents, friends, and teachers were more interested in finding ways to have us please them than to have us please ourselves and we lost touch with whatever internal guidance system we had. We became more OUTER directed and motivated by the approval and disapproval of others. We started to look for ways to please everyone else and if we made a decision to please ourselves and meet our own needs first, we were labeled as selfish.
As women, we have extra baggage around this issue because our society has taught us that women should be nurturers. The assumption here is that we need to take care of everyone and make sure that they are happy and healthy and all their needs are met. According to traditional roles, the fact that everyone is happy should be enough to make us happy because that is our responsibility. If everyone is happy, we are doing our jobs well. Of course, if there is some time after all this is done, it is acceptable to do something for ourselves. Otherwise, we are SELFISH.
These limiting beliefs have so many implications for women in our society. As more and more women enter the workforce and are trying to keep their lives in balance, the stress builds. If we believe that we need to please everyone in our families, our relationships, our work place, what happens to US? How can we do all this and be successful at work too?
How many times at work have you taken on other people’s needs before tending to your own?
How many times have you taken on the work of others with the attitude that “If I don’t do it. Who will?”
How many times have you avoided necessary difficult conversations because you did not want to offend someone? You wanted to be well liked.
How many times have you not taken credit for your work well done because you want to be viewed as THE TEAM PLAYER. Perhaps you don’t accept compliments graciously.
There have been SO many articles, books, blogs done about the necessity for balance in our lives and how important it is to take care of number one. What about taking care of number one at WORK? What do we need to do to advance our careers and get credit for the work we’ve done? Maybe we need to be more focused first on our needs and our career path than meeting the needs of everyone else at work.
I would love to hear your opinion. Do we need to be more selfish to be successful?
I think being “selfish” and “selfless” can be one in the same thing – where our focus on our self actually leads us to doing something great for those around us. 🙂
It’s too bad that tending to yourself is considered undesirable.
That is not how I define selfish. My selfish is far more grand and full of potential.
please, let us be selfish! One person can never make another person happy so the other can never make me happy. Only I can make the me in me happy. So I have started to think about what makes me happy and acted on it. It is liberating!
I agree with you. So much of our difficulties in loving ourselves came from social conditioning, not to mention religious teachings about selfishness, of going to hell if you don’t become as saintly, that is, as harsh to yourself as possible while being as kind to others as God wants you to be. The truth however is that we really should improve our relationship with ourselves first before we can have fruitful relationships with others. The option then is not to be selfish or successful, but to be able to have the right relationship with ourselves and thus, with others as well.
In general I find that in helping someone else succeed, I succeed myself. Maybe it’s old-fashioned, but it does work. Lack of customer service is one of my biggest complaints about society today and good service is not limited to the retail industry. If we are truly passionate about what we are doing, it is seldom a burden helping someone else accomplish his/her goals.
Hey, I am still recovering from my shoulder surgery, but wanted to drop by and comment on your latest post. I still read lots of posts but cannot type for extended periods of time, so my commenting is limited. I enjoyed this post and I am glad I dropped by.