In my book, The Clairvoyant Path, I talk about how kindness almost killed me. I was in such a habit of putting the needs of others before my own that I was severely depleted. It seems I was surrounded by selfish, entitled and narcissistic people and trying to accommodate them was causing me to become physically unhealthy, mentally frustrated, emotionally detached and spiritually impoverished. It wasn’t until I realized that these individuals were not trying to make my life difficult, rather, they were bringing me a much needed gift, that I was able to find the beauty in their expression.
Just like in emergencies, when airlines tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before your child, there are times in life when you must put your needs before others. I will say that is not an easy thing to do when you are conditioned to give rather than receive. However, I’ve learned it’s crucial at times to demand you be in the receiving position. I recall once an exceptionally narcissistic family member getting upset with me because I was moving an hour away. I wouldn’t be there to run errands for her that she was more than capable of doing for herself. I wouldn’t be there to plan all the family functions, and I would be around to clean her house just to make extra money. Needless to say, she was angry with me. But what truly hurt me was her unwilling to see that in a new city I would be making more money, raising my children in a safer environment and eliminating certain stresses that were causing me ill-health. It was then I realized why I had been surrounded by selfish people and I couldn’t have been more thankful.
The people in our lives serve as mirrors for us. They show us who we are and what we can be. In that sense, my family member was mirroring to me an aspect of myself that was out of balance. I was all give and no take. She was all take and no give, which was her gift to me. After hearing her tell me I was being selfish for leaving, I shored up all my entitlement, just as I’d seen her do many times over the years, and expressed how I didn’t care what she thought of my choice and that I was really moving out of a need for self preservation. I then thanked her for helping me understand that selfishness is at times the proper expression and I left.
Today, I categorized this type of selfish entitlement as “service-to-self first.” I believe you must be able to honor your personal needs before you can properly aid others. When you are giving but wish you were not, you are really only lending negative energy to a situation. However, when you can say yes and no when it is right for you, you are always providing positive energy. Don’t be afraid to be selfish. It might just be your saving grace.