Keeping the Love Alive: Selfing, the Cure for Resentment - Part II

When your world is filled with many wonderful opportunities, it can feel difficult if you feel you must choose between them, and it's equally rough if you have a hard time saying no to people. Yet saying yes to everything can lead to both over-commitment and resentment, which can erode your relationships, whether at work or home or in your community.

Many people feel the symptoms of this without realizing what, exactly, is going on. See if you recognize yourself in any of these symptoms:

  • feeling conflicted in what you "should" do versus what you "want" to do,
  • feeling exhausted,
  • feeling guilty because you are afraid you are letting others down,
  • not having enough time,
  • feeling resentful, and
  • feeling as if the weight of the world is resting on your shoulders.

If you have any of these feelings, it's time to take your life back. It's time to collect your personal energy and redistribute it according to your priorities. Take your power back from the invisible tyrannies of a material culture that says, "More-more, faster-faster is a better way of life."

The solution is something we call "selfing," neither selfish nor selfless, but the perfect balance between the two. Selfing is the skill of being true to yourself and making commitments to others only when it does not involve sacrifice. (In this context, sacrifice means doing something you don't want to do because you fear what might happen if you don't. For more on this, see part 1 of this article series.)

Needing to accommodate others' desires and curry their favor at your own expense can be a cruel master; living your life according to other people's terms of success is no kind of life--or success--at all. Take your life back and recommit it to the people and activities that bring you the most peace, happiness and long-term satisfaction. Here's how you can start today:

  • Make a list of the relationships and activities that bring you the most peace, satisfaction and a sense of deep meaning in your life. Be sure to include time for regenerating and inspiring yourself.
  • Make note of how much time you spend in those activities or honoring and nurturing those relationships. Does it seem that you aren't giving enough to these areas?
  • Create the time to honor your priorities. Perhaps you'll have to start declining some invitations or scheduling your time better and then sticking to it. Perhaps you may have to set some new boundaries with friends or co-workers.
  • Write down the obstacles to re-ordering your life to your true priorities.
  • Create a strategy to overcome the obstacles. Get help from a friend or coach if you need it.
  • Refuse the efforts of others to manipulate, control or produce guilt in you. Be willing to upset the status quo for a while till things find a new and healthier balance.
  • Commit to loving yourself enough to stay on track with this new resolve.

Your life belongs to you. If you don't take care of it, you will suffer and everyone who really cares about you will suffer. The high art of self-love and self-care cannot be delegated. When you do honor yourself, you honor those you care about, too. You create relationships in which everyone can share true feelings and genuine commitment without sacrifice. Instead, they are filled with honesty and the real desire to live, love, play, work, or build something of value together.

©2008, Paul & Layne Cutright

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Lovers know what they want, but not what they need. - Publilius Syrus

Paul and Layne Cutright are marriage and business partners who have been teaching principles and practices for successful relationships since 1976. They are the founders of The Center for Enlightened Partnership (www.enlightenedpartners.com), an online learning and resource center providing e-learning products, teleclasses and coaching. They are authors of the Amazon Best Seller, You’re Never Upset for the Reason You Think and Straight From the Heart. They publish a free monthly e-zine filled with inspiration and practical tools for all your valued relationships (www.enlightenedpartners.com/newsletter.html).

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