Many women whom I meet have been brought up believing that you are not worthy unless you have ticked off everything in your long to-do list and that doing things that bring you joy can be interpreted as lazy and egoistic.
"I should reap some benefits from working as a freelancer." said Mel, a freelance journalist and a DrivenWoman member, sharing the news that she'd just booked a little cottage for the month of August to spend with her children. She wouldn't normally dare to take such a long break. Working as a freelance journalist she felt she had to put in the effort at all time to ensure her income, keep her connections and appear available to all her clients. But the children were getting older and she wanted to spend more time with them, away from the daily circles.
She'd normally just talk about it, it would be a day dream. "One day..." she would say. But this time she decided to act without a delay. (That's what we do at DrivenWoman!) She booked the cottage the same afternoon. And now that the holiday was paid for and in the calendar she felt comfortable. She could get one year's work done in just 11 months!
It's funny how our minds work like that.
As soon as we give ourselves a permission to do something we will find a way to accomplish it.
How often do you have a feeling you'd really like to do something for yourself, but for one reason or another you end up putting it off until it's too late? The every day life takes over and busy circumstances push our own dreams, no matter how small, aside. I believe we women are especially prone to put our own wishes last.
Is it so selfish to want to do or have something just because you like it?
I don't think so. We only live once and it's good to be selfish sometimes to make life worth living. Do you agree?
Women put themselves last, there's always more work to be done. Or we are so used to helping others that we can't justify doing something just for ourselves.
Do you feel you aren't worthy unless you are working, not worthy unless you make sacrifices?
I've also been very guilty of this. I used to think unless I work really hard and constantly tire myself out I'm a bit weak, not really kick-ass. I'd feel guilty taking a break during the week to go horse riding. I'd rush into the yard and get out as quickly as I could barely enjoying the experience. But then I realised that what's the point of all of this if I can't enjoy moment to myself every now and again.
The only person who's judging me is me!
So I've decided to collect life's little pleasures, things I can do simply because I like them very much.
So here's an example, don't laugh! (Or go ahead then...)
When I'm on a beach holiday I like to paint my toe nails as often as possible. Oh yes, I choose to do this because I like it very much. I can have a different nail polish colour every day! It's completely useless and unjustified by efficiency standards but I've noticed I get a lot of joy out of it. It serves no-one but me. Ha ha! So I've now given myself a permission to indulge.
Another little selfish pleasure is making fresh juice every single day. This is a bit more useful and also serves the whole family. But it still requires time investment (15 mins). It would be so easy to drop this as mornings can be very busy, but I always make sure I have time for juicing. I simply get up earlier or drop other things if I have to.
What little or big pleasures you'd like to do more of? What are the 'vain' activities you keep dropping because they don't sound worthy enough?
Remember, the only one who's judging is you.
So girls, let's exercise some self-love and take action. Here's what I want you to do, right now. Yes, right now or else life's pleasures will get pushed to one side, yet again, by daily circumstances.
Step 1) List ten things you really like doing for yourself.
The more selfish they feel the better. Don't self-sensor your list or be overly realistic. Try to think about things that make you genuinely happy you don't do often enough.
Step 2) Pick three things you can realistically fit into your daily/weekly/yearly schedule.
It's time to give yourself a good, clean permission to be selfish, and do couple of things that really delight you.
Step 3) Write down the parameters.
Write down when, where and WHY you get to be selfish. For instance, I only indulge in changing my toe nail polish daily when I'm on a beach holiday. In London I don't make time for it and I would actually consider it a waste of time. In truth, it is a complete waste of time, but that doesn't stop me from doing it in the sunshine!
Step 4) Make it a habit.
From now on, Mel will rent a cottage once a year, and I ensure I have 15 minutes for juicing every morning. Make your joy a habit and take out the decision making process.
At the end of the day, your selfishness is going to benefit everyone around you.
What are your three selfish pleasures? Please share in the comments, I'd love to hear them!