Saturday, April 24, 2010

Selfish is the New Selfless

Welcome to "Same Old Sh*t" Saturday, where my motto is "I'm not working today!". Actually, I'm on an airplane (if all goes according to schedule), winging my way back home from a business trip to the Left Coast. I seldom say anything in this space that isn't something that you already know or have heard a thousand times before, but I sincerely thought this one just might be close to doing it. It goes against the nature of many of us to be selfish, even when we're doing it for all the right reasons.

I am notorious for giving you advice that you already know, but today I’m going to let you in on a weight loss secret that may have eluded you thus far on your journey, and it is this: you need to be more selfish.

I know, I know. Last week, I was telling you to be more giving and more caring. What can I say? I’m a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, engulfed in a riddle, stuffed inside a taffy wrapper.

But I do have a point: to achieve any meaningful success on this fretful weight loss adventure, sometimes you just have to make yourself THE top priority.

You have to grocery shop for what you need, not what the kids like. My kids wailed like little banshees when I quit buying cookies, chips and sodas. They can get away with having some of that stuff… but I can’t. And here’s the thing: why not help them understand now nutritionally poor those choices are now instead of making them learn it like we have… the hard way?

You need to carve out time in your too-busy schedule to exercise, even if it comes at the expense of helping a neighbor or running a load of laundry.

If you’re working 12-hour days, something’s gotta give. Ask for assistance, beg for help. We–your blogging companions–can give you support, we can give you advice. Sometimes we can even give you inspiration, but the one thing none of us can give you is more time. You’ve got to make that for yourself.

If I know you (and though we’ve never met, I feel like I know you like a sibling), you spend a lot of your day doing for others. That’s important, to be sure, but please make sure you don’t do for others at the expense of doing for yourself. Especially in this, your hour of need.

You need to do this for yourself, because nobody else can do it for you.

And here’s the thing (and it’s a pretty evil twist when you stop to think about it): you have been selfish in all the wrong ways.

Selfishly letting lethargy and convenience sap your energy and drive, making your life less than it could be, less than it should be.

Selfishly ignoring your body’s needs and your heart’s desires.

Selfishly putting off what you knew you needed to do.

You know it, and you know how to do it. There are a lot of reasons why you haven’t done it already, but selfishness has to be included in that list.

I can’t tell you the specific steps you, as an individual, need to take to set your journey on the track for success. I will just say that prioritizing it, focusing on it and, yes, getting a little big selfish with it can help get you there sooner.

Speaking of selfish, I almost went this entire post without providing your obligatory joke. My bad...

A Mom is driving her little girl to her friend's house for a play date.

“Mommy,” the little girl asks, “how old are you?”

“Honey, you're not supposed to ask a lady her age,” the mother scolds. “It's just not polite.”

“OK,” the little girl says. “How much do you weigh?”

“Now really,” the mother replies. “These are personal questions and are really none of your business.”

Undaunted, the little girl asks, “Why did you and daddy get a divorce?”

“Honestly! That's enough questions!” The exasperated mother walks away as the two friends begin to play.

“My Mom wouldn't tell me anything,” the little girl says to her friend.

“Well,” the friend tells her. “All you need to do is look at her drivers license. It is like a report card–it's got everything on it.”

Later that night the little girl approachesher mother, “I know how old you are: you're 32.”

Surprised, the mom asks, “How'd you find that out?”

“I also know you weigh 140 pounds.”

The mother is past surprise and shock now. "How in heavens name did you find that out?"”

“And,” the little girl says triumphantly, “I know why you and daddy got a divorce.”

“Oh really?" the mother asks. “Why?”

“Because you got an F in sex.”


  1. I love this post (and needed to read it) on so many levels. Thanks Jack.

  2. Kid jokes rock. Why is it that we lose that magic.. well, not you, obviously, but most of us..


  3. Good post as usual, Jack. I know there have been times when I've been "giving" just because I'm afraid to stand up for myself, and because there are days when "no" just isn't in my vocabulary.

  4. Great post. It's as if you're looking inside my head and speaking directly to my brain - I need to be more selfish. I don't think my hubby and kids will be too pleased about that!

  5. I sooooo needed this this morning! THANKS!

  6. I have finally figured this out, I am a better wife/mother FOR my family when I take the time to do these things. I am an all around better me. So in the long-run it's not selfish at all!
    Great joke, made me giggle.

  7. Great post. I think, even when you can't find a way to be selfish all the time, you can carve out selfish time periods.

    As a mother of two young kids, that was by bringing my husband on board. I get an hour every day to myself to be selfish, and he gets an hour a day of quality time with the kids. See, not even selfish. It's good for them too. :)

  8. If a person is in Canada, would it be the Right Coast?
    It's all in the perspective, eh?

  9. Time is the one selfish thing I need to work on for myself...

  10. I think I love you.

    In spite of everything.


  11. because you got an f in sex.
    That is funny.
    yup...I used to think I was selflessness defined, all the while my kids were waiting for me to do something or take them somewhere...pretty sad.
    good repost

  12. It took a pretty intense therapy session last week for me to come to the realization that I was worth getting a trainer. I thought I was afraid to ask my husband if it was alright to spend money on one. What I found out is I was afraid to ask myself, because then I had to admit that I was finding self worth.

    What a crazy wonderful self discovery.

  13. My favorite line was this: You need to do this for yourself, because nobody else can do it for you.

    It's taken me a long time to realize that but I'm finally doing it for myself. Not for my parents, not for my friends, but for myself. Because I feel better about the new self.

    And I agree with the selfish part. I have to prioritize ME time first. It sucks, because I have to tell people I can't hang out with them every single day. I have to tell people no, I can't get wasted with you every single weekend, but in the end, it's better for me, mentally and physically.

    Thanks Jack! Hope you had a safe flight!

  14. Here's the deal, the more we put ourselves first, the more we are able to do for others. Selfish REALLY IS selfless. When we take care of ourselves, our children learn that taking care of themselves is important. They watch like hawks and they will do exactly as you do. If a mother is constantly denigrating herself and her looks, her daughter will do the same to herself, even though Mom is praising daughter and telling her she's smart/pretty/thin. We all need to shine and do and be for ourselves in order to show others how to do the same! When we pursue what's important to us, what fills us up, we don't fill ourselves up with crap. Pursuing our passions almost always ends up helping someone else.

    I know this gets quoted a lot but I am going to quote it again:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

  15. Boy did I need this reminder right now...perfect timing. Thanks, ever so much.

  16. You always speak the truth--and I needed the laugh. thanks!

  17. You have an amazing way with words. You weave them so well, keep on truckin' Jack....



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