If you grew up thinking you always had to take care of everyone else, and you’re finally, finally, finally, trying to take care of yourself, and the very first time you say no because you don’t want to put someone else’s needs above your own, and they call you selfish, take it as a compliment.
Most of us are not selfish. Most of us are giving, concerned, sensitive and helpful. But sometimes we need to be giving, concerned sensitive and helpful to ourselves first, even if it means upsetting others.
If we’re being called selfish today, it just might mean we’re doing the right thing. Be less you to be more you: try something new today.
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Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
As my children have grown older (16, 21) I am finally learning that I should be a bit more selfish and less at the ready to help them. Better for all of us!