Rilda Smith, LMFT

by Rilda Smith, LMFT

What Is It?

Creative selfishness is behavior that allows you to care for yourself without feeling guilty. Creative selfishness is taking time to live your life with respect for you!

We have all been indoctrinated to be unselfish. To even suggest selfish behavior smacks of heresy. Study a person who practices unselfishness, and you may see a manipulative martyr who tries to win love and sympathy by practicing “good” behavior. Look at the words: unselfish and selflessness. No self!

Isn’t caring for others an important part of life? Yes! But only if you are caring and doing for others because you honestly feel rewarded by it, not because you’re telling yourself this is what you are supposed to do to be a “good person”. Caring for others in order to be “good” means living without self-respect, and over time it is tantamount to self-destruction.
Creative selfishness sends a clear message to everyone in your life: I love you (or value you or respect you), but I am a separate person with needs of my own. By practicing creative selfishness, not only will you gain the time to care for yourself, you will also gain the respect of the significant people in your life.

Creative selfishness, like all self-nurturing activities, will help you amass an overflow of love that will allow you to care for others from your abundance. That is truly being a “good person”!

When to Do It:
• If the idea of taking time for yourself is so foreign you needed someone to explain the concept to you
• When the idea of saying no to someone makes you cringe
• If you have no idea what a personal boundary is
Eliminate guilt
Be firm
Define your boundaries
Say no
More help saying the “n” word
Be patient

Traditional Native American Teaching
Traditional Native American teaching says that each time you heal someone else you give away a piece of yourself until at some point you will require healing yourself.