When did Selfish become a Four Letter Word?

Whenever I talk to women about living more joyfully and infusing their lives with more adventure and color, I’ll eventually come across the same initial objection:

Yes, but isn’t that a little…selfish?

The women I work with always undoubtedly feel guilty about thinking so much about themselves. They’ll tell me their big dreams and they’ll light up at the thought of going on more adventures, but then they’ll get “realistic” and lament that there’s just way too much on their plates right now for them to make it a real and consistent part of their lives. And besides, their life isn’t so bad. It all looks great on paper. They’re just a bit…restless.

The answer to their question is YES. It absolutely is selfish. And so what? If you’re like the women in my life, you are constantly putting yourself dead last. You put your needs after the kids and your husband and your parents. You focus on your wants after the errands and your job and oh, no one took out the trash last night, I’ll get right on that. 

If you’re like the women I know (and ahem, myself), you are never selfish. And the things that light you up get pushed into those tiny late night moments after everyone has gone to sleep. Or on the odd weekend day when everyone else is busy having fun. Or…never.

I recently read the fascinating book Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte and she referenced a study from sociologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who found that American women spent almost all of their leisure time with their children or families. And even further, his study showed that while men do one and a half things at a time, women do about five things at once. While they are doing one thing, they are also thinking about and planning two or three things more. So women are never fully experiencing their world.  We’re never fully living in the moment.

You deserve to have your own activities that you do by yourself (or with a crew of other badass women) that fill you to the brim with joy. You deserve to lose yourself in living and to experience your life fully and unabashedly.

You deserve to be selfish.


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