Reframing Selfish

In my last article, I promised to begin an exploration of selfish as a means to support myself and you through this holiday season. Why explore “selfish” during this normally generous season of gift-giving and eggnog cheers? Being a coach means I get to notice and nurture curiosity at all times. The first thing I noticed about myself with regard to this holiday season was my use of the word “should” as being the primary motivation for most of my actions. “I should make a list of people who will receive gifts from me, I should give a gift to so-and-so, I should enjoy shopping, they should appreciate my gifts, etc.” Does this sound familiar to you?

Where are you “shoulding” yourself?
Anytime we are using the word “should” we are in expectation which means our focus has become too narrow and often fixed or attached to a single outcome. For me, when I began looking more deeply at the outcome I was attached to it was ultimately “looking like and being like everyone else at Christmas time… generous!”

When I’m living in order to please others, in order to get them to think something about me whether it’s “she’s so generous, kind or giving” I am really living from of place of trying to figure out what everyone else likes/dislikes so that I can be/not be that. Talk about tiresome and unfulfilling! No wonder I’m feeling bitter about Christmas. So here is where my coach comes forward to support me.

The coach in me is tirelessly curious and willing to constantly challenge the ways I’m choosing to show up in my life. If I am currently showing up as trying to please others (or not wanting to appear the opposite of pleasing), what would be a new way of being in this situation? Sometimes those new ways of being don’t flow into our minds very easily, especially when the behavior of pleasing is so entrenched in who we are. So the invitation becomes simply to begin with the opposite of the existing behavior because we can identify that.

For me, the opposite of generous is selfish.

Is selfish a “dirty” word in your life?
Does the thought of being called selfish by someone you trust, love or admire send chills to the core of your being? Then I’m glad you are reading this. I know a lot about the dirty word of selfish. Before I found Fearless Living, selfish ruled my life. It made all my decisions, chose my friends, my job, my spouse. When I discovered that the fear of looking selfish was making all my decisions, the invitation became “where am I willing to take the risk of looking selfish?” What would be the benefit? How about letting the fear of looking selfish go? How would my decisions change and would it allow me to live a truer version of myself and show that to the world? And in the bigger picture, showing more of my true self to the world… is this really selfish? Or might it be generous instead?

Has selfishness received a bad rap?
It would seem that through this line of exploration and questioning, we can begin to “reframe” selfish into something good. The bad rap was established a long time ago, as part of our social conditioning known as the “tribal conditioning.” Back in the day, it was a risk to the tribe for one of its member to exhibit selfish tendencies. Yet today is today we have become more civilized as a society and we can afford to become more selfish also. To cultivate things like creativity and excellence requires a degree of selfishness.

Do you resonate with this? Do you have a negative reaction to the word selfish?

  • If you have been avoiding selfish, what opportunities has it cost you?
  • Are you willing to give yourself the gift of opportunity this holiday season?
  • What if you shifted into being generous with yourself first? How might that change your holiday season?
  • How might it support you to feel so full, you had an abundance of holiday cheer to give?
  • Are you willing to give the gift of showing your true self to the world? Now that’s a beautiful gift to give! What a merry merry Christmas!

Today and everyday till Christmas, practice being generous to yourself first. Be willing to notice and nurture selfish and do something selfish everyday!

One thought on “Reframing Selfish

  1. What a great blog Mynde. My trigger is selfish. I know in years past I had always tried to find the “right” gift to give, to find the right attitude, to do everything for everybody. It was not a jolly time but what I have to give this year is something more…I can give them my true and authentic self. I can be me. Wow…I can be me. I can say no when I mean it. I don’t have to run around like a mad woman looking for the perfect gift, but knowing the gift I am giving is my new found happiness. My new attitude and outlook on life. Christmas is about generosity and not just the material items we give, but the love and joy we spread. I am so looking forward to this year with all that I have learned.Wendee

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