WHY YOU SHOULD BE MORE SELFISH - HOW TO PUT YOURSELF FIRST & LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Guys, HAPPY NEW YEAR!
You might be wondering where the F*CK I was for the past 2 weeks (especially if you’re not a regular) and the short answer is: I was in Mexico. We went to Mexico with Sasha’s family for the Holidays, and the wi-fi was pretty terrible, which forced me to take a real break.
But I’m really not mad at it. In fact, I’m kind of happy about how things played out… I’ve talked about (on Instagram) how I was really uninspired at the end of 2018, and quite honestly, a little bored with my own content.
I started blogging (almost a year ago - it’s coming so fast!!) to showcase some fashion, beauty, wellness and recipes, but what I really, truly wanted to do was inspire YOU guys to live a satisfying, fulfilling life, by expressing YOUR creativity - wether it be with makeup, clothes, cooking or whatever else makes you happy.
That might seem like an ambitious goal, (and I still think it is) but I can’t think of any other reason to have a blog, Instagram account or YouTube channel than to provide value and inspire others to live a life that makes them happy.
So I didn’t start creating again right when we got back like I thought I would. Instead, I gave myself a few extra days to think about where I wanted to take things, what type of content I wanted to create, what you guys told me you wanted to see, etc.
Which, in turn, got me thinking about life in general, and the direction I want to be going in for the next 12 months. One thing that came up a lot was how I should be a little more selfish.
And before you think I want to become the next Ebenezer Scrooge, let me explain.
I’m all about giving back to the less fortunate and giving a helping hand when I can. If someone I love is having a hard time, I’ll always be there to listen and help as much as I can. I hate hurting people and think it’s so easy to do something nice, just to brighten someone else’s day.
So obviously, I don’t mean selfish as in someone egoistical who doesn’t care about anyone’s well-being but their own. Not at all.
In fact, I feel like I’m often too far on the other end of the spectrum. When I care about people, I have a tendency to always put them and their well-being first, even if that means sacrificing my own.
I could sit here all day writing down examples, but I’ll keep it to a few. Twice, I missed great professional opportunities to go to birthday parties. And I’m not talking about my own mother’s birthday. I’m talking going as someone’s plus one, where no one even cared if I was there or not. In the same category, I’ve been to a TON of events I didn’t really want to go to, just because the person I went with really wanted to go. I’ve called in sick at work and missed an important meeting, because a friend was going through a break-up and I wanted to be there for her. Countless times, I was craving a specific meal, but made something else for dinner because Sasha asked for something specific. Although no one can’t blame him, because I don’t actually tell him I want something else, I’m just happy to cook whatever he wants - don’t send him hate mail, LOL.
In theory, that sounds great and somewhat altruistic. But in reality, what it does more often than not is create disappointment. Disappointment that comes from incredibly high (and somewhat unrealistic) expectations.
And let’s face the hard truth here: Most people will put themselves and their needs first. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s just the way most humans are programmed, it’s survival instinct, if you will. Survival of the fittest. That’s how life works, right?
And that’s also why, in every single plane, leaflets say in case of emergency, you should always put on your own oxygen mask first, before assisting others around you that might need help. The first time I was old enough to actually be conscious of being on a plane, I thought that was odd. What if you have children? What kind of mom would put on her own mask first, before saving her children? Well, the real answer to that question is any smart mom. Because you’ll be totally useless to help your children if you’re passed out.
Same goes for one of the most well-known theories about relationships: You can’t really love someone if you don’t love yourself first. Dare I even say, you can’t make other people happy if you’re not happy yourself. Maybe short-term, yes. But in the long run… It’ll come to bite you in the ass.
Because, once again, people usually put themselves first. If they want to see a movie, that’s the one they will watch. If they have a great opportunity at making money, they will probably miss your wedding and send a brief apology on your RSVP card. And if you expect them to always put you first, you’re in for a brutal awakening. To put it bluntly, your unrealistic expectations are about to be shattered.
I realized that the hard way after many, many times of feeling disappointed by the way other people treated me. I don’t want to go into super specific details here, because the point of this post isn’t to throw shade at anyone… But I’ll just say this: Many times, I’ve been in situations where I put others first, sacrificed something for their happiness, and then when it was time for them to return the elevator… Crickets.
I’ve felt betrayed, felt like I didn’t matter to anyone, I’ve told myself things like “fuck this, I’m never doing something for X person again”. And then I realized… Feeling like this is my problem. No one else’s. That might sound harsh, but it’s the truth.
Chances are, no one will actually ask you to put them ahead of you. No one will request that you miss a super important photoshoot to attend their birthday party. They will understand that life happens and encourage you to do what you need to grow professionally. And if they don’t, cut them out of your life QUICKLY, because that’s not normal.
YOU’re the one who decided to miss an opportunity at professional growth. YOU’re the one who gave the last cookie to your friend, even though you wanted it. YOU’re the one who bought your friend’s daughter a gift you couldn’t afford. Even though you did all of it for someone else, the truth is, if you’re asking people to do the same in return, you’re turning into that person I mentioned above, who would ask someone to sacrifice their own personal growth for your benefit.
So how do you go about being selfish? It’s not that hard. Although I’m still just figuring it all out for myself, so when I say it’s not that hard, I mean theoretically. Let me get back to you in a few months, ha!
My theory is: Doing good feels good. So you don’t have to become an asshole to be a little more selfish. You just have to do what makes you feel good. You can still keep donating old clothes to women’s shelters and volunteering at the local SPA. If it makes you feel good and purposeful, then go for it. That’s amazing.
And you know why it feels so good? Because you would never expect the women from the shelter or the animals from the SPA to “pay it back”. You’re just doing it out of the goodness of your own heart. In short, you have no expectations. And that’s why it works.
When I met Sasha, he told me he liked setting very low expectations for everything in his life: restaurant meals, music events… He always went into it thinking it wasn’t gonna be that good, that way, he could only be positively surprised.
Now at first this kind of turned me off, because I LOVE getting excited for things. To me, it’s half the fun.
But we’ve been together long enough now that I feel like we’ve kind of rubbed off a bit on each other. My excitement is now a little contagious and I feel like he gets excited before special things, and I’ve learned to not always expect everything to be f*cking fabulous, because not everything is. That way, if something blows, I don’t get that disappointed anymore. Win-win, right?
Right before the Holidays, I saw a quote that said “Life = Happiness - Expectations”. I thought it was kinda genius and obviously shared it with Sasha. He also thought it was gold (SHOCKER!). Then we went to Mexico, and on one of the first days, we went to a sushi restaurant that was disappointing at best. I had been craving sushi for weeks and I was expecting it to be AMAZING. Well, it wasn’t. Sasha looked at me and said “Happiness = Life - Expectations, remember?” While I did want to playfully throw a piece of spicy tuna roll in his face (lol) I had to admit he was kinda right.
So to sum it up here, I would say that the danger about not being selfish enough and always putting others ahead of you is that it unavoidably creates extremely high expectations… That are bound to be destroyed, making you resent the people you love. So next time someone asks you to do something you really don’t want to do, just say no. Put yourself first for once.
The one thing I will say, though, is to not confuse putting your needs ahead with never compromising. Like in everything, there’s a fine line between balance and excess, and you don’t want to fall into excessive selfishness, because that’s what would make you a bad person, if we’re keeping it real.
While it’s key to put yourself and your needs first most of the time for your own sake, it’s also mandatory to give-in a little, in any relationship. So while I might say no to a few events and put really important professional opportunities before personal events, I won’t stop cooking what Sasha is craving and going to the jacuzzi with him even on nights when I’d rather do something else. Because when I’m really craving sushi, he takes me out to our favourite sushi restaurant DTLA. And when I’m really not feeling the jacuzzi and would rather snuggle up in bed to a bad movie, that’s what we do.
I’ll say it again, compromising is key in every relationship, so keep that in mind when you’re trying to be more selfish.
One last thing, I know I went on and on about having low expectations, but if you’re in any relationship where you feel like you can’t have any expectations, or if you have bad expectations, it might be time to cut it off. Compromise is like a dance, it’s a game for two. If you feel like you can’t count on someone, either because their level of selfishness is way higher than yours, or because they’ve burned you countless times, you’re not compromising. You’re settling. And one should never settle.
As with anything in life, I feel like the one metric to measure how selfish you should be, or which relationships you should give your energy to is simply: Does it make you feel good? If it does, keep doing what you’re doing.
How do you guys feel about being a little more selfish in 2019? Do you sometimes feel like you’re putting others and their needs ahead of yours? Please share your stories below, I’d love to hear what you guys think!
Love, Jenny xx