For the one who called me selfish and closed minded:
No, this is not a post to defend myself, or bash someone. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinions. But I’ve been told that the things I write about help people, so that’s the goal here.
I used to care about people making fun of me for writing long posts, but for every 10 people that make fun of me, so far, at least one person has benefited. So if one person benefits from reading this, it’s worth being made fun of.
So for the person that called me selfish: I apologize
However, I don’t apologize for being selfish, I apologize that you have failed to understand the value of taking time to be selfish.
Perhaps a different perspective will open your eyes to my actions and soften your heart towards me. But if not, no hard feelings.
For those that have been around me lately, you know that I love to read.
Someone even told me I was so selfish because my nose is always in the bible or some other book, which meant I didn’t have time for anything else.
But here’s the thing, ill be the first to admit, I have been selfish. I needed to be. Yes I have been busy too. I have been busy finding God and finding myself.
Today, when I was reading, I read a piece by Jane Mcwhorter, she wrote about her experience on an airplane:
“As the flight attendant began her message, I started to block out instructions, which I had heard countless times before, on this particular trip however, her words caught my attention: “in the event of an emergency, adults who are traveling with a small child should first place their own oxygen masks in the correct position before attempting to assist those who are young and in need of assistance.”
At first, the thought of snatching an oxygen mask and putting it on myself before caring for a small child seemed so selfish. After pondering for a few moments, however, the reason was apparent. If I could not function properly, I would be of little use in assisting a helpless on to safety.
Before I can even consider being a friend to anyone else, I first must be able to stand on my own feet. I have to be my own person, my own best friend, before I can offer the hand of friendship to people around me. If I do not take care of myself, I can do little for anyone else.”
You see, Ive been busy learning how to be a friend to myself. After my mom died and I hit rock bottom, I realized I needed to find myself again. I found myself by finding God. The God of the bible.
When I found the God of the bible, and learned more about Him from His word, I realized that we are commanded to not only love Him, but to love ourselves, and our neighbors. I realized that I was doing none of these.
John 15: 14
“You are my friends if you keep my commandments.”
“If you love me, keep my commandments.”
I was saying I loved God, but my actions spoke way differently. The more I have learned, the more I realized I was being a fake friend. To God, to myself, and to others.
I also realized that we are called to love one another:
…”thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
For me, the key phrase in this is “as thyself.”
I was failing in this “love your neighbor” department because I did not love myself.
I have always wanted to impact people, and change people’s lives, but I realized I had to impact and change myself first.
So lately I have been selfish. I have been taking time to myself to learn about myself. I have learned about the things that make me tick; things that motivate me, things that annoy me. What I like, what I don’t like. My habits, good and bad.
Also, I now understand the importance of constructive criticism. Sometimes people tell us things out of love and what’s best for us, not just because they want to hurt our feelings.
During this time of learning about myself, which by the way is hard.. Changing yourself is hard. But its not impossible. I took a personality test recommended by a friend. There was tons of research on it, and I thought, hey, why not? So I took it and it told me my good qualities, but it also told me my negative ones.
When reading the negative things, it told me I cared too much what people thought. At first I felt immediately defensive and I thought to myself, “whatever man this is stupid.” But I started to realize that sometimes we become blind to our negative qualities because we refuse to acknowledge them. We immediately dismiss the idea that we have qualities that should be worked on.. This in turn makes it impossible to change.
So instead of dismissing the idea, I took it into consideration and I started to notice things about myself. For example: selfies.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with taking a few selfies, I just took one the other day because I was having a good hair day and just felt good. Those types are not the ones I’m talking about.
Sometimes I get done at the gym and my body is on point, and I used to always take an after gym selfie, but then I started asking myself why? Why did I feel the need to take a picture? Why am I trying to impress other people? Yes my body looks exceptional after a hard work out, I have worked hard for it.. But I know that it looks good, why do I need to send someone a picture? What am I trying to prove?
No I’m not bashing people who weight train for a living, I’m not talking about inspirational work out posts, or personal training photos. Sometimes I have to scroll through Instagram to find some extra motivation to drag myself to the gym, and I follow lots of girls for pointers and inspiration. And progress pictures are inspiring. I have posted a progress picture when I lost 39 lbs. That is not what I’m addressing. I’m addressing the selfies that are posted for the need for affirmation.
For me, these type of selfies stemmed from a self-love deficit.
I needed to be told I looked great, because I didn’t feel great. I craved attention. I was proud of myself for losing weight, and I still am proud of myself. But the more I’ve learned to love my body, the less validation I need from someone. I work out because I love endorphins. I am comfortable with the way I look naked, and I love the feeling of being in shape and the way my clothes fit. I do it for me.
I love when people come to me for diet and exercise advice because I thoroughly enjoy helping people help themselves, because I helped myself. But in the beginning, that wasn’t the case.
I laugh because if my dad were reading this he would probably be saying “I told you so,” because every time I go to take a picture of myself now, I hear him in my head saying “affirmation, affirmation, look at me, affirm me.” And as much as I want to tell him to shut up, I know that he is right (and usually is).
When I was struggling with loving myself, I felt the need to prove myself to others. I needed affirmation because I wasn’t sure of myself. I craved attention. And I didn’t respect myself. I wasn’t a friend to myself. And because of this I probably wasn’t a good friend to others. I often looked for faults in other people to make myself feel better.
In order to be an effective friend to others, I believe we have to be a good friend to ourselves first. In order to love others, we have to love ourselves. If we don’t love ourselves, things like jealousy, resentment, and withdrawal from social interactions occur. We don’t leave room for people to love us. Our relationships often become toxic because we look for people to fix something we are lacking, and we become disappointed when they don’t. At least, this is how it was for me.
So I have been selfish spending time finding things like this about myself while I can. Most importantly I’m learning how to please God and develop a relationship with Him because He has gotten me this far and I know each day I am granted with life, is a day He has a plan for me. I’m learning to love myself, because he loves me and I was made in His image.
Taking time to learn more about myself and the things I need to work on has caused me to be less concerned about what other people think of me or what they need to fix about themselves. It has allowed me to love people for who they are, because I love myself for who I am. It is the most freeing feeling and I will never apologize for it.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not immune to the cares of other people. Judgmental comments or harsh words cut deep. My feelings get hurt easily because I genuinely care about people and their feelings so I often assume they care about mine. I understand the importance of learning from other people though, and sometimes in the most harsh treatments teach us valuable lessons.
Other people can teach you lots of things about yourself as well. For example, I love my new job because I work with a ten year old boy with down syndrome. He is teaching me my lack of patience and helping me improve it. He is showering me with love and helping me realize how blessed I have been. He is teaching me the value of happiness despite limitations.
My sister teaches me things too, like how to take a break and have fun. Today we jumped on the trampoline in the rain, and it was probably one of the best things I have done in a while. To be free, happy, and filled with love, enjoy the moment despite the stress. It is the best feeling.
I’ve learned that I can’t please everyone and I don’t have a desire to, because often their negative opinions are a reflection of themselves, and the one that matters knows my heart and knows I’m trying.
So for the one who called me selfish, maybe I am right now, but I’m okay with that.