Embracing the Selfish Buddha
You Can’t Give What You Don’t Have
4 Ways to Be Good to Yourself (So You Can Be Good to Others)
Unless you’re a narcissist, you probably believe it’s good to give. And it is. The problem is, there’s a stigma to being selfish in this world – and that can become a real Catch-22. So, how do you navigate taking care of yourself and taking care of others? Here are 4 tips that will help you find balance:
1. Destigmatize the Word Selfish. The word selfish has become the new “S Word.” One of the last ways we want to be described is selfish, so we spend a lot of time giving away our time, our money, and even our happiness to be considered a “good” person. But you can’t give what you don’t have – so if you’ve given everything away, you’ll have nothing left to give. This is why it’s important to put yourself first sometimes – otherwise, you’ll never be able to put others first.
2. Take Care of Yourself First. Next take the time to recharge, enrich, nourish, and nurture yourself. I see a lot of people give, and give, and give – then they burn out and aren’t able to give anything at all. It’s important to take care of you. This can be a controversial idea, but if you get your ducks in a row before you start giving, you can give continuously and give more.
3. Wait to Give, So You Can Give More. Some of the most generous people in the world are the richest. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet alone have given over 48 billion dollars to charity over the course of their lifetimes and I’m sure they weren’t focused on giving while they were building their businesses. They were only able to be selfless after being selfish for a little while first. Just think what you would be able to give if you took the time to take care of your finances, your health, your heart, and your mind. It may not be 48 billion dollars, but I can bet it would be a hell of a lot.
4. Become a Selfish Buddha. Buddha said that to reach enlightenment, you have to give everything away. While this idea has merit, it also feels outdated, untrue, and inaccessible to most people. We live in a world where materialism is woven into the culture of our lives. And while it can’t provide all of our happiness, it’s naïve to think it can’t bring us joy. The key to anything in life is finding balance, so be a Selfish Buddha and do a little giving and a little taking.
Let me know how you go about being good to yourself in the comments below. What is your experience in giving while still nourishing your needs?
Be sure to check out Creating Healthy Boundaries at Work for other ways to be good to yourself. Also check out my podcast!