Heart of the Matter: Selfishness as self-care

My summer was extremely busy this year, it almost felt like I missed out on it between work, school and moving. I was grateful to take a bit of time off for a family road trip and a couple’s bike trip, but I found that I was still feeling rather depleted, irritable, and had very little space to connect with my partner and friends.

It was difficult to make enough time in my overfilled schedule to get away, so I definitely had some expectations about feeling recharged upon my return from these getaways, expectations that were not being fulfilled.

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I kept wondering if I would ever feel recharged, or is being perpetually tired and burnt out just a part of getting older that we all must learn to accept over time?

I was offering less and less depth in my coaching sessions, I had less energy to offer to my massage sessions and when I was chatting with those close to me, I was no longer listening to my dear ones with the intentional presence I pride myself on having. I did not realize what this meant, of course, because I was disconnected from even myself and my own needs. I was slowly distancing myself from connection, while still saying yes to people’s requests of me. However, my ability to fulfill connection and presence was (and continues to be) quite lacking.

Fortunately, I have a dear friend who is highly emotionally intelligent (among other wonderful things) and willing to call me on my stuff in a gentle, loving way while showing care, compassion and heaps of empathy for where I am in the moment. It was from a heart-to-heart conversation with this friend, combined with three weeks of deep self-care and alone time, that I was finally able to realize how I had dropped myself.

I had dropped myself in service of “doing” and placating to the world around me. But the thing is, there is no service to anyone in dropping ourselves; not to our kids, our partners, our friends, employers, clients, or our pets. And especially not to ourselves.

It was from here that I was able to get honest with myself and those around me about where I am at, what I need, the boundaries that need to stay in place (for now, at least) and what I am truly able to give space to. We are not machines with endless amounts of space, here only for the fulfilling of other people’s needs.

We can all afford to be a bit selfish sometimes, to put yourself first and take exquisite care of you. And if you find yourself trying to argue this point, I would especially encourage you to take even a bit more space for yourself.

We are each worth it, I promise.  

Niseema Emery is a certified intimacy and relationship coach in Powell River.

Copyright © Powell River Peak


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