As women we are often taught to be unselfish, to take other people’s needs and feelings into consideration. Frequently we give all our life juice to others in the process, leaving nothing for ourselves. Putting the other guy (or gal) first is the message we receive from our families of origin and also from our culture. Needless to say, that creates problems with weight loss success.
Now being selfish, that’s another kettle of fish. When we’re selfish, we can be rude or insensitive or bitchy. We look out for our own needs no matter what others want or need. Sometimes we feel justified in this position because we used to be unselfish, but got burnt out and decided we just couldn’t keep doing the giving.
Selfness is thinking of our own wants and needs while taking someone else’s needs into consideration.
The trick here is that often we don’t even know what we want. For example, a friend asks if we’d like coffee or tea. For many of us, our knee jerk response is, “Whatever you are having.” We hate to put her out if she wanted coffee and we wanted tea; we’re being unselfish. We hate to say we really want tea; we see that as being selfish. Frequently we’re so well trained to the response of “whatever you are having” that we honestly have no idea what we want.
Practicing a selfness reply is the place to start. So when the question “What would you like?” is asked, we can take a guess and say, “Coffee, please.” When we sip our coffee, we may realize that our mouths would rather be sipping tea. But we gave it a try. With practice in small ways we can start to listen to ourselves, which is the first step to selfness.
Steps to Selfness for Weight Loss Success
- Start to listen to you. It’s hard to say what we want and consider others’ feelings when we’re not sure of what we desire. If you don’t know what you want, take a guess. Sometimes you are right.
- Use I statements. “I would be happy to drive if that would be more convenient for you.” I statements help us to take ownership of our thoughts, feelings and words. It moves us from the back passenger’s seat – “anything you want, anyway you want it — to the driver’s seat.
- Practice out loud on your own when you are driving or at home alone. “This time you can decide what we are having for dinner, but next time it will be my turn.”
- Believe that your needs count. Use affirmations such as:
- ” I count my own needs as I count others’ needs.”
- “It is okay for me to ask for what I want.”
- “I can lead or I can follow.”
- “I take care to listen to my body and not just go along with what my friends want to eat.”
- Embrace selfness. Know that balance is what we’re looking for in all things and is particularly important for weight loss success. Balancing our needs along with our family’s, balancing home and work, food and exercise.
The process of selfness is riding the teeter-totter of life so that we don’t always end up feeling depleted and unacknowledged.
Balance: To give and to receive.