Be Selfish
Ep. 211
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This week I want to talk to you about being selfish. This is kind of a hot topic but I want to argue that you can’t help others until you help yourself. Really tuning into your needs and asking what you can do to move yourself a little closer to what you want every day is not a big lift. So if you’re always putting everyone else’s needs before yours and always putting yourself last, give this episode a listen.

Show Transcript
Hey, welcome to Lessons From a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you spent getting to where you are, if ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams.

Hello, welcome to another episode. I'm so excited to have you here. I am so excited you guys, I am creating this new offer that I'm going to put out into the world in a couple of months and it's gonna be so good. And I am just really enjoying being in the space of like dreaming up the perfect thing for me and for you and for the community and to provide more services and access and help for people to create the careers and the lives that they want. And I can't wait to get it out into the world. I mentioned on last week's episode too if you want to make sure you are in for the launch, when we open the doors I'm only gonna open it to my email list and I'm gonna give them a 50% discount on the first round. It's only gonna be offered once, that promotion, that price will never come back. So if you're interested in working on creating the life that you want and actually liking your career and wanting to know more about this offer, go to and make sure you're on my email list. If you're on the list, you don't have to do anything else. You'll get the emails I promise but if you're not, what are you doing? Get on there, get some emails every week that will help you and make sure that you're in the know when this new offer drops which is gonna be so exciting. Okay, today's gonna be a little short one but it is good. And I think that we need to discuss this. I see this come up all the time and I was like ughhh I gotta do a quick episode about this.

Alright, I'm gonna make the case today. I feel like this is my lawyer hat coming on. I'm gonna present a case to you about why you should be selfish. Now obviously I don't actually think it's being selfish but I know a lot of us like to throw that term around so I wanna embrace it. Let's be selfish. Really the point of this episode is how do you start putting yourself first? And that makes a lot of us clam up. Like uhhh how can you say that? You're not supposed to put yourself first. You become a terrible human being when you're selfish and you only care about yourself. Now, I'm not saying only care about yourself. I'm just saying put your needs first once in a while maybe all the time, right? Here's the thing: being selfish is like one of the biggest sins in our culture especially for women, okay? The patriarchy has done a huge number on us and we are raised to put everyone and everything before ourselves. If you really think about the fact that like women are pretty much taught that your entire existence is for other people, right? Like your sexuality is for the pleasure of men. All of when you have kids forget about it, everything is for them. You don't get anything for yourself. You're just groomed from very early on that the most noble wonderful way to be is to be this selfless person who always only cares about other people. Now it's really been interesting for me to observe this. The more I learn about this and really watch the difference in what society the messages that we send and I obviously try to be more conscious and cautious of this with, cause I have a son and a daughter and it, I can already see it playing out. I can already see those subtle ways in which little girls are made to be the helpers more, in where they really start finding their worth in getting that approval. My son could care less, he has no desire to help me. And it's funny to watch. I know some of it is just the way the messages he's already gotten. And I was thinking about my husband even, my husband is one of, I would say, I mean, obviously I I'm biased but I think he's one of the best. And he is extremely caring and thoughtful and kind and helpful. And yet it's so fascinating for me to see his thought process versus mine. There's been numerous times where certain things will happen and his first thought is to figure out like to take care of himself like to figure out what he wants to eat or whatever. And I'm always just fascinated by it because I'm like I that's so, I mean, I'm happy for you because that's just not the way my brain works because I've trained it so much to constantly think about oh no, but what is everyone else gonna eat? And do we have enough? And what if this person doesn't like this and what, you know, and it's like I never, maybe like the 20th question is what do I want? I don't even get there cuz it's like who cares what I want? I'll just go along with whatever everybody else wants. And I know so many women, not to say there aren't men that do this, and again, I think my husband actually does care a lot more than most men about what other people need and making sure their needs are met. But it's fascinating for me to watch even somebody that truly is not, you know, careless or thoughtless or quote unquote selfish still have been raised in a way where it was okay for him to decide what he wants and stick to that decision and not have to ask everybody's opinion. I'm like what must that be like? Because that was not the way I was raised. But even for men, I just think that we have created so much morality around the fact of like how quote unquote giving you are. And obviously when this becomes some kind of marker, it becomes a subconscious like not that we're conscious of it but like a competition almost with yourself. A race for yourself like how can you be the most giving? Right. And I see this with people, even with their work where even if they're doing something that's giving back, even if they're working in nonprofit, they still don't feel like it's enough, right? It's not like I'm not helping enough. I'm not saving the world enough. And I think so many of us have this feeling where it's like I should be doing more because I have more and I should just always like give and give and give. And I think when we don't realize that we're operating on this, we don't understand why so many of us are so unhappy. Right? We're terrified of being seen as selfish. We're terrified of being seen as a bad person. That's really what it comes down to, right? Because selfish is being bad. And so many of us we've been raised with this binary kind of black and white, good bad. And we obviously we all wanna see ourselves on the side of good. And so it's like I have to make sure that I'm constantly doing things that will make everybody else and myself believe I'm good. And so when we do something that's for ourselves, the guilt is unbearable, right? Like we cannot sit with the fact of picking something just because I want it. I said in my last episode like we have such a hard time with having with deserving and thinking like wow, why me? All these other people don't get it or whatnot. And this is like part of really how this shows up is this guilt of like why do I deserve to have something that I actually want God forbid, right? And again, we're not conscious to these thoughts but it's underlying if, and you can know if this is you if anytime you do something for yourself, especially if other people may not agree or have opinions, let's say you wanna go on a trip and your spouse doesn't think you should go on a girl's trip or, you know, you wanna go out to dinner with your friends and your mother-in-law thinks that that is not the thing you should be doing, whatever. I mean, notice where your brain goes. If you become defensive, if you wanna try to prove it, if you start questioning, if you're constantly thinking maybe I don't need this, right? Like who am I? All these other moms are killing themselves or whatever the case may be. And it comes back to this idea that like we have to constantly make sure everybody else is okay before ourselves. Right? And so what we do is like we just give and give and give and we deplete ourselves. If we were happy with that, if we were like love and light, this is great. I just give and I'm so grateful that I can give. And everybody else in my family is happy. Fine, keep doing it. The problem is is that we become super resentful and angry because it's not what we wanted to do. Right? So many of what we end up doing is under these should's. I should. I should be with my kids all the time. I should be at home every night for dinner. I should make an organic meal. I shouldn't go on a trip without my children whatever. I should whatever. Right. I should always hang out with my friend who wants to hang out. I should talk to this coworker who's lonely and comes to talk to me every day, even though that's not what I want to do. Even though I'm sick of these conversations. I just should do it because I'm a nice person and being nice is the most important thing in my life. Even if I'm not consciously thinking about it, it's like the most important thing is that everybody thinks I'm a good person. God forbid somebody ever have a thought. And then I'm just gonna be stewing on the inside. And I'm gonna be angry that I have to go to my mother's house again for dinner or that I didn't get to get any time alone or that I have to have this conversation for the umpteenth time with my coworker, even though I don't want to. And then we run around and we try to change other people, right? Like why can't my mom just be different? Why doesn't my husband understand that I need some time? And we blow up at people because we're not being truthful about what we need because we've attached a meaning to it. Right? That's the only reason. There's nothing morally or inherently wrong about taking time for yourself, going on a trip, going to happy hour with your friends, saying no to somebody who you don't wanna talk to. There's no moral actual equivalence to it. There's just the thoughts that we have about it. It's just a neutral circumstance but we've decided like good people don't do that. Nice people don't do that. Nice people say yes all the time and give and give and give and make sure that nobody ever has a negative emotion. Right. And how does that work? The reason we become so resentful a lot of times this happens. This is like people-pleasing 101, happens every single day is we say yes to things we don't want. And then low and behold, other people still have human emotions. They still aren't happy. Right. Have you ever like said yes to doing something like going over to your parents' house for dinner and then your mom is still upset and you're like how dare you? I don't even wanna be here and you're mad. Right? And we become angry because we think they should just be happy. I did this for you to be happy. And this is why it doesn't work because you will never control other peoples’ emotions. You know whose emotions you do control? Ding ding ding yours. Right? I know this is cliche where like people constantly give the analogy but it's just the perfect analogy is like there's a reason why on the airplanes they tell you to put your mask on first, right? Because you cannot help other people if you do not take care of yourself. You will get to the point where you will burn out. You will get to the point where you just don't give an F anymore. And we see this happen all the time. We see so many people burned out around us, not in the, you know, obviously there's like the work sense but I just think even in the life sense like the reason we're also overwhelmed by life is because there's so many should’s that we've put on ourselves. I should put my kids in all these things and shuffle them around from camp to camp and class to class. I should eat more healthy. I should work out three days a week. I should. I should I should. I should. And I don't want to. Right. And so imagine if we all learned how to take care of ourselves. If we all just decided I have to take care of my own needs. I can't control your emotions but I can control mine. And so I need to check in and think about like what do I need to feel at peace and calm and grounded and happy and whatever else it is. What are things I need to fulfill myself? And you may not understand. It may not be aligned with what you want either. And I'm not saying that we have to like, you know, people always take things and make it so extreme. And it's like oh, well then you just don't care about anybody else. And you just don't care about your children. No, nobody is saying that. Nobody's saying that you have to just be like the only person that matters is you. It's just that put your mask on first. You cannot pour from an empty cup. There's a reason these are sayings because it's true. When your entire existence has been to prove that you're quote unquote good enough and nice enough and you completely deplete yourself, you become an angry and resentful human being. And those people are not that fun to be around. If you learn how to start taking care of your own needs, then you don't need other people to take care of them for you. Imagine that. Your spouse doesn't have to act a certain way for you to be happy. Your kids don't have to do certain things for you to be happy. You start learning like what do I need to be happy? Maybe this is a lot and sometimes I need some time alone. Maybe just the way my body works like I was actually just seeing on Instagram and somebody was talking about being an introvert and how even like the social interaction with your children is too much sometimes. And like God forbid like you're not supposed to say that out loud because you should wanna be with your children every second of every day. It's such an absurd thing. And yet, like that's really the thought that we have instead of really working with your own brain and your own nervous system and your own body being like hey, I need some time away. Yeah, my kids may not like it. That I have to go in my room and read for 30 minutes just to fill myself back up, just to be able to come down and be a normal person. Right. But when I can do that, think about how I show up then as a mother. Like when I take the time and I check in and I’m like hey, I need some time to myself or I need to go after this dream that I have or I need to whatever. Insert whatever your dream is. Think about the ripple effects that that has. If you don't need your spouse or your child or your job or anything else to make you feel happy. If you know like I can always take care of myself. I can always check in and figure out what do I need and give it to myself without guilt, without shame, without thinking I need to deserve it, without telling myself I'm a terrible person because God forbid I put my own needs first for once. Even if somebody has a negative emotion, even if my kids don't understand or un- and are unhappy like that's okay. Me doing this for myself will allow me to show up for them, will allow me to not be resentful at my children because I gave up my dreams for them, will allow me to not be angry with my husband because he can't read my mind and automatically know that I needed some time alone. Like I can speak and tell him what I need or her or whatever. You know, I can tell my friends like I love you but I honestly just can't socialize today. It’s nothing against you. Thank you for inviting me but I really just need to be in my room alone with a book tonight. Right? Like can I have that honesty without constantly telling oh, I should have just said yes, they're probably upset. I should have gone out and been miserable the whole time just so somebody else might hopefully then have a positive emotion. Right? And I want you to think about the ripple effect from that. First of all, like I said, like you're just not as angry or resentful as people and how different that changes your relationships. You don't look to them to take care of your own needs. You don't need them to take care of you. You get to love them just for being there. There's nothing they have to do. Right. But also it allows you to let other people be who they are. Like the more we learn to put our own needs first, the more we also learn that like other people are also allowed to put their needs first. And that's the most beautiful thing. So much of our judgment and I feel like our anger at other people doing things that, we don't consciously understand this, we just seem to be very angry and we don't know where that anger comes from. But a lot of it is rooted in like how dare he do this? I don't get to do that. Oh, how dare he have this time for himself? I remember I used to feel like that with my husband a lot because like I said, I mean, he was just taught to like figure out what he needs and figure out a way to work it out. And I would get so resentful cause I was like well, it must be nice that you get to go and take this time to go work out or you get to do whatever. I don't get to do that. And the only reason I didn't get to do it is because I wasn't saying I wanted to do it. I wasn't carving out the time. I had full on taken on the martyr badge of mother and was like well, I I can't do it. And when I started realizing of course I can, I have to work it out with him. Like hey, okay, you're gonna go out this time. I wanna work out at this time or like on this night, I'm gonna go out with my friends or I'm whatever. Then we make it work. Then I like actually express what I need. And then when he does it, I'm not angry and resentful. I'm like yeah, you absolutely should take the time to do the things that you need to make you show up as a better father and as a better husband. Let me know what that is. I've also noticed this, like for me, it's really like shifted the way I even look at social media. A lot of times I would find myself getting really triggered by certain people. And I would, and it's usually an arrow for me, I I don't get jealous as much as I realized I would get judgemental. Like I would just find myself judging somebody. I have no idea. I've never met. No idea what their life is but I would just want to create this like ughh why is this person like this? And I would always like get, like now now that I have these tools, I would get really curious like why do I care what this person's doing with their life? Like why does this trigger me so much when I think like they shouldn't be like this? And I'm telling you it's been eye-opening because 9 times outta 10, the underlying thought for me it's usually something that I think is not available to me. It's something that I think like oh, well that's nice but not not everyone can do that or that's nice but like my family would judge me so hard if I posted something like this and I'm like oh, that's why. Like when I have the thought that I can't do it, I also get the thought like how dare you? Think you can do it. I mean, I don't consciously think this it's terrible thoughts but the brain's gonna brain. And that's what my brain does. And when I notice that, I started asking like what is it that I want? Why do I wanna do that? What am I not giving myself? What do I need right now? Is this something I would want to do? Can I see this person as an example of like it's possible to do that, it's possible to put yourself first. Right? So I would say like when you find yourself being triggered by anybody, a really good place to start is to ask those questions. Like what in this is triggering me? What do I think this person should or should not do? And why? Do I think this is available to me? But more specifically, I want you to get used to asking yourself, what do I need right now? What do I want? I was recently noticing this about myself. I would describe myself as easy going and I don't necessarily think that's a good thing anymore. Um I used to pride myself on that and I think some things I genuinely don't actually care or have much of an opinion on but I know that a lot of this is rooted in just my socialization of trying to be go with the flow and you don't wanna be high maintenance God forbid and don't wanna have too many opinions. And I've realized I I sort of lost myself to the point where I didn't have any opinions and I didn't know anything. What I I have no idea what I wanna eat. I don't care. Right. And I was real realizing you can, a quick test for this it was just like ask yourself like do you have a favorite food or a favorite flower or a favorite book? A lot of times it's hard for us to even come up with those things because we go away from being opinionated at all. It's like oh, I'm fine with anything. I'll eat anything. Everything is fine. Like I like all flowers. I don't have opinions. The more I can erase myself, the happier everybody will be. Like this is sort of what we end up doing. And I started realizing that oftentimes like because I just want everything to go smoothly, I just defer to everybody else. Like oh yeah, whatever you guys want. We'll go wherever you want. We can meet at any time you want. Even when people would ask me like would reach out to me for work and ask for basically a favor or my time or something. And I was like yeah, yeah. Just tell me whatever day works for you. And I was really like questioning why am I doing this? Why aren't my needs just as important? What if, why can't I say like I'm only available on Thursday between 9 and 12? Can you make it work? Like that was such a mind-blowing thing for me cuz it was so forceful. And what if they got upset? What if they can't do it? And I've started asking like just catching myself in the middle of a decision making. When someone asks me where I wanna eat and seeing like how I want to just make other people happy by saying like being easy going and I'm forcing myself to really think about no, but what do I want to eat right now? What does sound good to me? What time does work better for me? And I just encourage all of you to start asking yourself what your needs are and putting them first because that is the only way that you are gonna show up and create the relationships you want and have the life you want and not be consumed by anger and resentment and jealousy and judgment because when your needs are taken care of, when you have that oxygen mask on, it's a lot easier to be the person that you want to be. And so while you think being selfless is this wonderful thing, it is creating a life that makes you miserable. And so if it requires you to be quote unquote selfish, be selfish. Your needs matter, your wants matter, your dreams matter. And it's time you start taking them seriously. So I want you to ask yourself every day when, especially when you find yourself angry and resentful or caught in those emotions, I want you to check in and I want you to ask yourself: what do I need right now? And then I want you to give it to yourself. Alright, my friends, I hope this was helpful. Go out there and be selfish. And I will see you next week for another episode.

Thank you so much for listening. If you liked this episode, share it with someone else. I promise you know somebody who also hates their job and wants to quit, so why not share the love? And if you want to come follow along for more, come join me on Instagram at LessonsFromAQuitter and make sure you say hi. I'll see you next week for another episode.