“… and love your neighbor, AS YOURESELF!” Jesus, the Christ
Although it is most certainly ironic, selfishness can prove to be a powerful impacting catalyst for serving other people. It’s kind of like the old question, “Who’s taking care of the caregiver?” An unreplenished caregiver eventually runs out of energy to compassionately serve their family, friends, or clients unless they are also taking care of themselves.
When Selfishness is a Good Thing
By “selfish” I am referring to loving and taking care of yourself. When you are strong, full of energy and light, you have something to give away. But in order for you to have energy and light demands that you take time to take care of yourself and love yourself. Some people call this selfishness. Jesus calls “loving yourself the foundation for loving others.”
By that definition I am very selfish. I do so many things to satisfy and grow myself: I travel, paint, read, go to movies, and visit causally with friends. And in order to do so, there are times when I must say no to the needs of others. Many people would say I am selfish. I would say I am replenishing myself to be even stronger in the world.
When you are personally filled with energy and light, it shines and glows so that others will actually be drawn to your presence. I view my greatest calling as helping others “feel better about themselves.” I can’t do that when I am drained of energy and the desire to serve. I need to replenish—to be utterly selfish.
Jesus and Selfishness
In the Gospel of Mark there is a story about Jesus. When “all the people” were looking for healing, he chose to go off to quiet place to pray. His disciples went nuts and looked all over for him. When they found him they told him about the people wanting his presence. But Jesus needed to replenish his relationship and power from his source, the Father. Was Jesus selfish? Well…
So what do you do to replenish yourself… to be selfish?
Let me offer a handful of suggestions:
- Go to a private place to read or write or think or eat and enjoy the atmosphere. At least two Saturday’s each month I go to a hotel on the beach, drink sparkling water and espresso, I write, and I just restfully enjoy the view of the ocean and often the island of Catalina. I selfishly give myself permission to merely relax and stimulate my inner self.
- Put a selfish replenishing block of time on your calendar at least one time per week. Once it’s set on your calendar when someone asks you to do something you can simply tell them you are already booked. Haha. I love doing this.
- Dedicate yourself to discovering a hobby or artistic activity. Nothing will replenish your spirit like creativity.
- On occasion, pamper yourself: get your nails done, go golfing, go shopping or surfing, or whatever it is you find to be a “treat.” Then do it!!!
When you’ve replenished yourself (selfishly) you will be bursting with energy and light so strongly that it radiates, making everyone around you brighter and more satisfied. Give it shot and be shocked.
When We are Replenished (selfish)
We Become Places of Rest and Healing
Photo courtesy of olaser at istockphoto