One of the biggest struggles that plagues millennials (and obviously others), in my opinion, is selfishness and priorities. We are at a stage in our lives–before spouses and children for most of us–that we struggle to understand where each facet of said life belongs in the long-term. Obviously, once spouses and children come into the picture, priorities shift in an entirely different manner. Simply stated, we are at the juncture between figuring out what your priorities are and taking that list and figuring out where each item belongs. After that, or possibly piggy-backing off of priorities, is the notion of selfishness. I think the word ‘selfish’ is one of those words that I wish was better used elsewhere. What I mean is that when someone says ‘selfish,’ they automatically think the worst connotation of that word. (Kind of like the word ‘arthritis’ in rheumatoid arthritis–it should really be named rheumatoid disease….but that’s another post in and of itself).
I think there are two spectrums of the word ‘selfish.’ Unfortunately, there are plenty of people in this world that regularly live their lives full of selfishness out of or with malice. On the other hand, there are individuals, who should be applauded in my book, who are living their lives full of the type of selfishness that is needed to take care of yourself-physically, mentally, and emotionally. The kind of selfish that when you put yourself first, you’re doing it so that you can be a better person and a healthier person. See the difference?
Too often I think those individuals who are trying to live their lives so as to be the best-rounded person are still criticized for being the type of selfish that is full of malice. What should be happening is a celebration of the fact that there are people who care enough about themselves and, realistically, about those around them that they hold importance in making sure that they are continuously focused on improving their being. That sense of independence, confidence, awareness, etc. is the absolute opposite of malicious in intent.
Well, I will say this. I can say, with utmost certainty, that I have never, not once in my life been selfish with maliciousness (thank you to my parents for raising the type of children who don’t even know how to add maliciousness into themselves). And I can also say that I am usually the person who never puts myself first and always makes sure that the important people in my life are taken care of before I am. That’s not to say that I regret ever doing that, but it is to say that it has taken a situation with my health for me to realize the importance of selfishness for the betterment of yourself. Rheumatoid Arthritis (Disease) has knocked me flat on my ass (some days, literally) and acted like a tornado ripping through every thing I’ve previously thought were true or real. I have never experienced or even imagined the severity and the type of pain that I’ve been forced to experience every day and night for the past six months. I have never been more tired mentally and physically than I am right now. I have also never been more terrified.
That being said, I have never felt more content in the realization that I need to spend some serious energy (the little that I may have left) on myself and my health. Nothing forces you to put yourself first a little bit more than an autoimmune disease. So, have I chosen to be selfish (starting today) in the near future? Yes. Yes, I have. And yes, I need to. I would never intentionally hurt anyone throughout this process, but I can guarantee that what some people have previously been used to (with regards to my time, energy, and attention) will not be possible. I do not have the energy. Coming second only to my health, is my job (and I am beyond grateful for the type of job I have, and for being able to do what I love day in and day out). And coming (tied) only third to my health and my job, are my family and friends.
This segways into my thoughts on a person’s priorities. I can only hope that someone’s priorities are always in check and always in the right places. But I can understand the fact that not every one needs, or possibly should have the same set of priorities. But mine are non-negotiable, and frankly they always have been that way–with myself being the exception. It’s a big change for me to put myself (my health, most prominently right now) at the tip top of my priority list, but I’m kind of excited about it. I’m excited to focus on myself and focus on my health in order to be the very best Kristin for the rest of my priorities to experience. That will take time, and I’m willing to allow it to take as much time as necessary, but it will also be time well spent.
Thank you to every single priority of mine for your love and support.