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I’m not selfish, I’m self-aware.

Growing up, I’ve always thought of myself as a selfish person. I was, and still am, surrounded by some of the most giving people to ever grace the Earth with their presence – My mother and my grandmother, being the most prevalent. They are the definition of self-less. They will drop anything and everything to help someone in need; whether that be a family member, friend or stranger. Not only are they willing to drop anything and everything, they do so without even flinching. Without wondering how it may affect themselves or their day.

Me, on the otherhand, I’d take a couple seconds to regroup my thoughts – “How will this affect me? Can I even help? Am I the right person to help?”. When its all said and done, yes, I always (well, more often than not), will help anyone that may need it. I just never did it as gracefully as my mom and grandma, who – let’s face it – are the gold standard of selflessness. Which then lead me to believe I was a selfish person.

Disclaimer: They DID NOT make me feel selfish in any shape or form, it was the fact that I was comparing myself to perfection. {This sentence may also have sublimnal messaging to suck up to my elders – Ya hear that Mama and Grandma 😉 }

Turns out, I was never actually selfish, I was normal human being. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that until just a few days ago – but I’ll get back to that in a minute.

Most of my life I’ve tried relentlessly to not be selfish.

I put others’ needs in front of my own, I lived my life based on those around me, I’d shape my wants and opinions to make those around me comfortable, and I’d do my best to take out the “I” that was in my head. Well to my surprise, when you don’t listen to the “I” or “me” in your head, you really start to lose the foundation of who you are and what you want in life.

Last year, after a couple life-changing events, I heard the whisper of the “I” and I finally responded to her…

ME: “Oh, hey! What’s up, girlfriend? Long time, no talk! How have you been?”

VOICE IN MY HEAD/HEART: “It’s about damn time you heard me! I’m not that great, I don’t like being ignored.”

ME: “I know, I apologize. But I’m listening now – what can I do for you?”

It was that 5-word question that changed my life – What can I do for myself?

What did I want? What did I want to do? Who do I want to be?

I started living life for myself – I saved and spent money how I wanted to, I hung out with people I’ve always wanted to connect with but never made the effort, I started writing this blog, I traveled, I volunteered, I did NOTHING and EVERYTHING with myself at the forefront of my thoughts. IT. WAS. FREAKING. WONDERFUL. Not only did I become happier with my life, but I became happier with myself in the most innocent sense. I had myself and I was enough!

Mountain Peak

Unfortunately, it wasn’t all sunshine and daisies the entire time. The way I was living my life compared to the way I tried to live growing up to be as selfless as possible, were basically fighting each other with socker boppers. (PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, watch this commercial from the 90s, you won’t regret it….Socker Boppers – They’re better than a pillow fight!

It wasn’t until recently that I realized I wasn’t battling myself against selfishness…

I was self-aware…without actually being aware of self…???

I’d like to take this moment to thank my friend, Nick Bitting. I haven’t known him for very long – only a handful of months actually, but we have a very raw relationship in that we are open, honest and have a mututal respect for one another. One night, over a coffee stout (because coffee stouts are LIFE), I had apologized for being difficult and always putting myself and the things going on in my life before him. Without hesitation, he looked at me, shook his head and with a little smirk in the most genuine manner said, “Tracey, you’re not being selfish, you’re just self-aware. You know you have a lot going on that’s important to you and your future, and you’re choosing yourself as the priority. There is nothing wrong with that and don’t ever apologize for it”.

(Those are not his exact words, but that’s the gist of it)

Of course, I responded with an awkward half-smile and also bewildered look because it was such a simple concept, yet it never dawned on me. I Covered my face, and just said “Thank you.” Although I didn’t respond with much, that ‘thank you’ was deeply filled with gratitude. So Nick, if you’re reading this – I owe you big time!

This was pretty much the face I gave Nick…

Let’s take a minute and look at the definitions of these two words:

Self-Aware: conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires.

Selfishness: lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

Yes, we could probably create a Venn Diagram and add to the differences and similarities between the two all day + night, but the core differences between these two are obvious – Just because I am conscious of my own character, feelings, motives, and desires, does not mean I lack consideration for others. Just because I put my character, feelings, motives and desires as my number one priority, does not mean I am lacking empathy for those around me. If anything, it allows me to be a stronger person for myself, which enables me to be a better helping hand for others.

Anyway, it’s been just over a week since I found out I’m self-aware and not selfish, so I can’t really tell you how it’s affected me in the bigger picture, but I can tell you I feel more confident in the way I’m living my life. I now know there are three different components that make up my actions in life – self-awareness, selfishness, and selflessness.

Now before I bid you adieu, do me a favor and ask the “I” in your head, “What can I do for you?!”

Peace. Love. ‘Self’ Stuff.

XO. The Welcome Woman

 

Do any of you struggle with feeling selfish? Are you confused whether your actions are because you’re conscious of oneself versus only considering oneself? If so, let’s talk and struggle together 🙂

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  • Blondes & Bagels

    You’ve really hit something here. I look at my mom and think the same thing you think of yours – literally the definition of selfless. But also she would sometimes work herself to the bone for other people she would literally burn out. I’d catch her doing laundry at 2 am and prepping lunches at 3 am. Like WHAT?! So yeah – maybe we aren’t as “selfless.” But it doesn’t mean we’re selfish. We just know we need to be in our best space, at our peak, in order to be the best we can be for everyone else in our lives. I think that’s crazy important.

    Also coffee stouts ARE life.

    xoxo Kelsey

    • Tracey

      Moms are superheros of the world! It’s amazing what they do, let alone what they’re able to do behind the scenes – things we don’t even know about! I always say that if I’m half the woman my mom is, then I’ve made it lol

      Also, ALL THE coffee stouts on me when you visit 🙂

    • Tracey Sands

      Okay, I’m terrible! I know I typed up a reply to you, I must not have hit “post” – oh boy! But yes, mom’s are definitely the superheros IRL. I don’t know how they do half the things they do and still have a smile on their face at the end of the day!!

      Come visit me and I’ll buy you ALL THE COFFEE STOUTS!!!! <3 <3 <3 <3

  • O yes! Great insight and perspective! I can see myself this way too!