As we approach the New Year, think about how you want 2018 to be a little better for you- even a little different.

Today I’m thinking about being selfish. You may think you know what it means to be selfish, but do you really understand how to be selfish? It’s okay to be selfish! Yes, it is! I promise!
I have some suggestions. (This isn’t a how-to guide for narcissists; they definitely don’t need any pointers!)
This is for those of us who continually feel like doormats. You may be the person who has total  responsibility for planning holiday events, the person who gets stuck with the extra work at the office, the parent who can’t remember the last time you took a moment for yourself, the spouse who feels you can never win, or  someone who always puts the needs of others first. Is that you?
Please acknowledge that you don’t give enough thought to yourself and your needs. You think taking care of yourself means, “Sometimes I let someone else do the dishes and take care of my family when I’m sick or tired.”  It’s time (probably past time) to become your biggest cheerleader and start self-caring.
So, how can you begin to do this?
First, clear time and space just for you- not for anyone else. It’s time for you- not time to do something for anyone else. Stop thinking about phone calls or emails. They’re not going to disappear just because you put them out of your mind while you take care of you!
Consider your needs and desires right now. This could be anything from, “I want to eat chocolate” to “I want to plan and take a great vacation this year.” What would make you happier, calmer or more content? For the moment, do this without judgment or limits.
Think about how you can fulfill those needs. Maybe it’s not a good year to take a trip or maybe you’re on a diet and have sworn off chocolate. There are ways to compromise. Maybe you can have a single piece of chocolate on a cheat day? Maybe you can plan to travel next year? Don’t move on from this task before you’ve addressed your needs. Stay focused on yourself.
Don’t expect or look for validation. The very definition of selfishness means you don’t worry about how your behavior affects others. That will probably be a very difficult thing for you at first. Don’t accept any guilt. When you surround yourself with people who are used to getting whatever they want from you, they may not like the new you. There’s nothing in it for them. Don’t let them tap into your guilt. You’ve been feeling guilty enough long enough.
Practice, practice, practice. The more you practice recognizing and fulfilling your own wants and desires the easier it will become.  You’ll face more situations thinking, “Is this really what I want?” or “How is this serving my needs?” When you begin to put your feelings first it becomes a very empowering and healthy habit.
A selfless person can easily learn to strike a balance between selfless and selfish. You may always have that nagging feeling that tells you to do more for others than for yourself, but that’s okay. You already have the “good person” part built in. You’re empathetic, thoughtful, and selfless — three things that make the world a better place. Remember to turn those things on yourself. We all need self-compassion.
Remember:  taking care of you means the people in your life will receive the best of you, rather than what’s left of you.   
Happy New Year!

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