You’re just selfish! Or are you?

red 1 15june17

Red – base chakra – earth element – grounding – spiritual energies – family – survival – roots – security

As the first deck in the Chakra Card series, this deck deals with our foundations, our roots.

Is it selfish to attend to your needs first?

Interestingly, my daughter needed me to do something today and I chose instead to write this blog. It is important for me to build a routine into this website and I know that the thing that she needed from me can wait until tomorrow.

Ultimately this question is about whether we are willing to acknowledge our own needs and fulfil them before helping others. One of my favourite examples about this is when you are on a plane, they require you to fit your own oxygen in the event of an emergency before helping others. Simply put, if we are incapable of breathing, we are unable to help others.

I spent many years doing lifesaving and one of the core principles of both lifesaving and first aid is self-preservation. It’s no accident that the D in DRSABCD is danger, that is, checking danger to yourself before assisting the victim. Two victims are a far worse outcome than one.

But not all of us think about tending to our own needs as a priority unless it’s an emergency situation. I remember years ago on social media, a friend of mine, a new mum, asked this very question and I said a resounding ‘no’, yet one of her friends harpooned me and said that the baby’s needs far surpassed the mothers, the mothers’ needs were secondary.

Interesting. Needless to say, we had healthy discussion.

Without a fully functioning, healthy mother, no baby would be able to get the best possible care. This is not about neglecting the baby. This is about ensuring that the baby gets the best possible mother it can. Yet many new mothers feel guilt at attending to their own needs first. Similarly, many partners feel guilt or are made to feel guilty for playing golf, fishing or catching up with mates. We all have needs and it is essential that we fulfil our needs so that we CAN help others. Playing golf or fishing might help a partner’s mental health and make them more able to cope with a noisy family. A new mother returning to work might need it for her own mental health or sense of identity or even for financial reasons.

The word selfish means; ”concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others”[1] the word itself even confirms that taking care of your needs IN ORDER TO improve the care of others is not the definition of selfish.

Studies done on mothers have found that the myth of the perfect mother can cause cultural and social expectations that can induce guilt[2]. We have these expectations about parenting that are so often unrealistic and based upon popular culture. So many people feel that it’s their right to comment on other people’s parenting style. It might be the fact that we are social creatures and we are, in effect, all part of raising the “herd”. These expectations then drive our own expectations of what is selfish and we have lost sight of what it means to be selfish.

Whether we like it or not we are driven by our needs and that survival instinct to take care of ourselves is a strong urge. Yet, caring for others is also innate in the human species. If we think more broadly as a species, is it selfish of us to attend to our needs for survival of the species at the expense of the diversity of life that exists on Earth? This card can be as simple or as global as you want it, but as always with the Chakra Cards, go with where it first takes you. For me, it went to parenting.

Further questions to reflect on for this card include:

What does selfish mean to you?

Where in your body do you feel selfish?

When is it empowering to be selfish?

When is it disempowering to be selfish?

Who in your life has been selfish? How have you been selfish to others?

Where do you see selfishness in our world?

I encourage you to leave your answers below and we will hold space for you and offer a space of healing.

In love,

Alyssa @Chakra Cards

©Alyssa Curtayne, 2017

 

 

 

[1] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/selfish
[2] Rotkirch, A. and Janhunen, Kristiina, (2010), “Maternal Guilt,” Volume 8, Issue 1, First published January 1, 2010  https://doi.org/10.1177/147470491000800108

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