It’s the final countdown towards the eve of the New Year and we’re all scrambling to figure out which resolutions we’re really, like really, going to commit to and keep this year. We do a bit of soul searching only to end up writing a list that looks so similar to the one the year before and the year before that and so on. Sleep more, exercise more, eat a better diet, be more compassionate, travel to Paris (O.K., that’s my eternal, non-resolved resolution, but you know what I mean!), save more money and more along those lines.
Have you ever stopped to wonder why it is that we have such a hard time staying on track with our resolutions? Some experts say that it has to do with the approach we take when making the resolutions and the pitfalls can be avoided by being more precise with our goals and even announcing them socially so we can be accountable for them. Dr. Mark Goulston shares on a Psychology Today column that most of us can’t keep a New Year’s resolution because of “the inability to plan and remain true to that plan to reach an objective.”
I’ll have to agree on all these theories, but I do have one of my own this year. I’m strongly believing in it and making it my only resolution: to put myself first. Yes, I want to be Self-centered.
I’ll bet you anything your first reaction to the words “self-centered” is more about being selfish. Interestingly, the Merriam-Webster dictionary does define selfish and self-centered the same way as “having or showing concern only for yourself and not for the needs or feelings of other people.” Of course, not caring for others or neglecting their feelings is truly negative. However, I do take offense with the thought that showing concern for ourselves means that we are automatically disregarding others. It doesn’t have to be so black and white. But for “self-centered,” Merriam-Webster does add an additional definition of “independent of outside force or influence” and that’s what I want to focus on.
I want to reclaim the word selfish to to be more about being Self-centered — centered in me, in you, and not in an “outside force or influence.” Not in what we think others want from us or need us to be, look or act like. If we start from a place of truly acknowledging that we owe our Self love, care and respect then it will be a lot easier to achieve that which we need to feel loved, cared and respected.
Most of our resolutions fail because we become victims of our environment and of other’s needs and wants before ours. But who or what can really take away our resolution to put our Self first? Putting our Self first simply implies that we acknowledge that once we fulfill our basic nurturing needs and desires, we’re able to give from a place of true trust and abundance because we eliminate the lack that leads to resentment and feeling overwhelmed.
I have to admit that I constantly lose my center. I become child-centered or work-centered way too often. I put all those responsibilities and obligations first and then I start falling in a downward spiral of exhaustion, anxiety and stress that leads to lack of sleep, no exercise because I’m too tired, poor eating habits and tons of resentment because I allowed it all to happen. Even though I’ve always known in a logical way that I have to put the oxygen mask on myself first, I’ve never really allowed myself to do it from fear of losing what I’ve built and of saying no to others. I’ve always believed I had to play the nurturing mother role who never had to expect anything in return. Now I’m finally internalizing what it really means to be self-centered and understanding that any lack I experience comes because I have allowed it to. And if I’m the only one that can allow it to happen, I’m also the only one that can ignite the spark.
How do I plan to actually work towards becoming more self-centered? It’s simple: remind myself every day that every decision I make needs to fit the lifestyle that makes me feel centered. That will mean saying “no” a whole lot more. It will mean letting some people down and allowing them to feel angry. It will mean creating space for me to be alone. It will mean letting go of many things that defined my persona. And I hope it means I will ultimately create the time and space to be able to give more from a place of real abundance and joy.
Wanting to exercise more, eat better, control your finances and all those common resolutions are extensions of your Self’s real wants and needs to feel nourished from within. Start with allowing yourself to put your Self first and then all those resolutions might just become you.
I’m willing to be Self-centered in 2014 and see how it goes. Are you?
Photo credit: Alanbrito on Flickr.