As caregivers, we are usually quite familiar with the word “selfish” – defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as doing what is pleasurable or advantageous for your own self without regard for others.
Other people may have used that word to describe you.
You may have used it to describe other people.
And you may have flung it at yourself a few times, too.
In general, we’re taught to think of being “selfish” as a “bad” thing. But I believe all concepts neutral. Every concept you can think of is inherently neutral – with a light side and a dark side.
Concepts shift depending on context and the eye of the beholder, and “selfish” is no exception.
Some might describe one aspect of the dark side of being “selfish” as a caregiver as when you are not devoting your entire life to supporting the person who needs care.
And some might describe one aspect of the light side of being “selfish” as a caregiver as when you are taking time to do those things that are necessary to refill your energy tanks.
A quick way to plug a few little mental energy leaks, is to experiment with catching yourself anytime you label a person, event, or thing as “good” or “bad.”
First, you’ll probably be surprised at how habitually you do it, and second, by pausing to question your initial reaction and considering how the person, event, or thing can be seen in a more neutral light, you will increase your mental flexibility and add more nuance to your judgments.
Reducing the speed at which you slap a label on something is one way to increase the textures of peace and calm and curiosity in your life – and conserve your energy.
Thank you for spending this time with me – and thank you for being one of the ones who care.
Details about my group coaching program for caregivers are here.