Monday, May 18, 2015

Shelving Selfish

Hey, look at me, I made a tongue twister without even trying! Go ahead, see how many times you can say "Shelving selfish" fast without making a mistake. I'll wait for you. How many did you get? I was barely able to squeak it out 3 times before I was saying, "Shelving shellfish." Alright, enough of this pockycock and fiddle-faddle, it's time to get down to some serious business. Since I just fashioned a new tongue twister challenge, how about I also formulate a new word? After all, this existence is about continual creation and new formation. And so, I present to you...self-ish. I most certainly will share with you the definition of our newest vocabulary word but first let's discuss its evil twin, selfish.

Selfish is one thing we hope to never be accused of being. It implies a callus, self-serving, and inconsiderate person that lacks any empathy or compassion for the impact of their actions on their fellow man. Yuck! To be seen, or even potentially seen, as selfish in the eyes of others throws us in the ranks of the most undesirable. Selfishness is said to be void of concern or care for anyone other than ourselves. Or is it?

Well, most certainly selfishness can fall under that description. We all know someone, or have been that someone, that only has their personal interests at heart. But there is another facet to being selfish that gets left in the dust lest we be mistaken as coldhearted, it is referred to as self care.

Unfortunately for us, self care has become synonymous with selfishness but in truth, they are not one in the same. Self care suggests a compassionate approach and awareness to our personal needs. It takes into account how those needs might affect someone else and based on that assessment takes a healthy and conscious approach on how to proceed. Self care looks for gray areas in a situation but is not afraid to remain firm if a certain choice is for the highest good. Anyone practicing self care knows the importance of tending to and valuing the self in order that they may be more fully present and loving for others. There is no space for guilt when engaged in self care, even when others aren't pleased with our choice, only an honoring of one's truth.

Ahhh. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? I feel more peaceful, centered and whole just talking about it. This is where our new friend, sef-ish, makes a return appearance. I suggest that in our efforts to take care of ourselves we toss out the notion and confusion of selfishness and instead say we are being self-ish, emphasis on the "ish". Say it out loud. It sounds a bit friendlier and lighter.

We can ask ourselves, "Am I being selfish or self-ish?" That little play on words allows us the ability to have some discernment in understanding our actions and motivations. If they are coming from a space of self love, then an emphatic "ish" is in order and we no longer need fret that we've fallen into the swamplands of selfishness.

I encourage you all to embrace this new word and its definition. What is it that you can do, or not do, on a daily basis that self-ish and nurturing. Perhaps if enough of us incorporate it it will find its way across the desks of dictionary editors and become enlisted as a new word for the year. Maybe. Until then, allow it to enter your mental vocabulary as a real and loving symbol that grants you the freedom to treat yourself with a much deserved reverence.

Be well and happy.

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