It may be an age/gender thing but I was brought up and have lived my life to believe that to be selfish in any way shape or form is inherently wrong. To put myself before others is wrong. To think of myself as important is wrong.
The great Canuck of this parish often suggests that we should ''commit to loving ourselves'' in order to heal. I''m sure he''s right, it certainly makes sense but I wonder just how you''re meant to do that. What does that really mean?
Hmmm well this means different things to different people.
I thought I might as well share what this has meant for me.
I think firstly confidence and self esteem get mixed up. i think confidence is how you project yourself to the outside world and self esteem is what you really think of yourself inside. I work in a pretty demanding job and see overwhelmingly confident, extremely senior people who have poor self esteem. So the two at least for me are separate.
Self esteem is also for me anyway, not about selfishness either. Its feeling equal to others, that one''s needs are equally important.
Now, there are times when sacrifice is required obviously, but overall I think that since I did the work on me, I have got better at making sure my own needs are met. Its a feeling of being equal to others rather than less than, not sure I am making any sense.
When stbx left, my self esteem and self worth went through the door with him. Looking back now, I tolerated too much in the marriage and sacrificed my own needs for his. So, when he left, I felt my life, my identity had gone. I had to face some pretty uncomfortable questions as I worked through why this had happened to me.
So, for me I had to address some stuff around why I had ended up in a relationship with someone who was capable of treating me so badly. I had to unpick the very things that had kept me tied to someone who was capable of the most appalling conduct.
I had to work through all the answers to these questions before I could even understand why I just felt so bad about myself. This work included making sure I had good boundaries so people who were abusive did not get a chance to hurt me anymore.
Then as I got the answers to those questions and did the boundary work, I could concentrate on me and what I wanted from my life.
So, without distractions of busyness, constant social plans, I got used to solitude. I learned to like me again by treating myself like I would anyone else. This takes practice and a lot of it. I mean not settling for a ready meal for one, I mean cooking myself the same dinner as I would if I had company. That kind of thing.
The biggest thing that I have gained (I can not begin to explain my whole journey it would be long and possibly quite boring) is I have no fear of being alone. I like who I am these days and it has taken me a very long time to get there.
Everyones experience is unique, there is no right answer. For me anyway, this did not come with time, it came after a huge amount of work and being able to process some pretty painful stuff.
I would suggest getting hold of a couple of self help/positive thinking books and follow the suggestions in them.
Positive affirmations made regularly can help.It may feel very odd at first looking in the mirror telling yourself you love and approve of yourself or that you are beautiful,clever,witty etc but constant repetition can help change your mind set.
Also when negative thoughts come into your mind try and banish them immediately eg never tell yourself you are stupid,fat etc.Try and treat yourself as you would your best friend or a timid small child.Imagine the child you used to be and cherish that image.
This may all seem a bit "new age" but it can work.Also ignore anyone who tries to put you down.Tell yourself they are being jealous and their opinions have no value to you.They can have opinions but that doesn''t make them true.
I''m still working on this but I am regaining my self esteem and feel so much better than I did.
Love who you are, who you believe in and who you aspire to be.
Reading thru this thread, I came to this statement by loveourmum. This is what I feel. I love what I am and I believe in me and what I have aspired too.
This I think resolves the issues that we have about selfishness. And that is why I never say that I love myself. Cos I dont. I just love what I am about and what I have become. I am not a selfish person and frankly, I cant be and I could never find a way round this issue. Until I found out that I could love what I am and not myself.
Like many others (and it was very interesting reading Shoe Girls response) how some people do a hell of a lot of work on themselves. I am not so elequent as Shoe Girl and she always explains things in a way that I wish I could. But like SG, I did the same things. Worked out why I allowed myself to be treated in this way and how I could stop it in future. But perhaps I need to work in HR, SG?
But the one thing that I and SG have in common is that we are largly sorted. I say largely as I think this (sorting) process is a lifes work. I believe that we traverse life and make small changes here and there. Like adjusting a rudder on a ship.
Lastly. Many believe that divorce means game over for them. It''s certainly not game over at all. Its game on sunshine. It all starts with the divorce. That door that subsequently opens, is a chance for a fresh start. But like SG, we have to put the effort in. Cos in life, you reap what you sew. Sew good healthy seeds and your crop will grow tall and strong. Remain in the mire and change nothing, and you stay where you are. If you change nothing then nothing changes. Thats just my Marshy tuppence FWIW. C.