You only have to listen.

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Since writing yesterday, the icky chest feeling has subsided and I already feel lighter and more free.  It’s funny how acknowledging your feelings can do that, huh?

For the longest time, I’ve had these books in my drawer.  Like most things in my life over the past year, I’ve had great intentions for using them, but then life happens.

While cleaning out my kitchen drawer last week, I came across the habits journal (below).  I had purchased it from Michael’s a while ago and never got around to using it or the gratitude journal (also from Michael’s).  I decided to dust them both off and throw them into my bag.  I thought i might be a little way to help focus my intentions and improve my spirit.

In terms of the book, I ordered it a while ago and never got around made the time to read it.  I am currently teaching a writing class where the students are required to read independently and then take part in literature circles.  As good models, my co-teacher and I are also reading (books of our choice) the days we ask the students to do so.  I began reading this yesterday and already there are a million “Ahas” that connect to how I’ve been feeling (more on that in a later post).

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After hitting post yesterday, I was researching some of Deepak Chopra’s ideas.  It was ideas similar to his that were in that article from the Oprah magazine I had been discussing yesterday. I was reading something on meditation and thought to myself, I should take some time to do that everyday.  I had downloaded an app (I think it was called Mindfulness, but I need to double check) a while back and did it once or twice.  I remember I really liked it.   It’s not very often that I am still in my own thoughts. I think that’s an integral part of nurturing your soul–even if just for a moment. I’m thinking that would help to alleviate some stress and provide some mental clarity.  Since becoming a mom I feel as though I am alway “on”.  I think it’d be a nice, healthy, self-ful* way to turn off (not to mention making me a better mom, teacher, friend).

Later in the day, while skimming Facebook, Liz Josefsberg had the following post on Facebook.

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How funny that I only had to put the idea of needing help out to the universe and suddenly it began to fall into place.

It’s like someone, somewhere is screaming at me to take the time to worry about me.  To make myself a priority.  To do the things I keep saying I am going to do.

Yup, the universe is definitely like the Amazon Alexa.


*Self-ful–a word my WW leader uses to talk about ways we make our own lives worth living.  Things we do for ourselves, not to be selfish, but to nurture and love ourselves the same way we nurture and care for others.  What a better world it’d be if we all took just a little time to do this.

In searching more about this, I came across an interesting and applicable article from the Psychology Today website entitled “Selfish vs Self-ish:  What’s the Really BIG Difference”.

According to Leon F. Seltzer:

Defined principally as “thinking only of oneself” (definitely the most common usage for selfish), you get–among other unfavorable possibilities–egocentric, egoistic, egotistical, mean, self-centered, self-indulgent, self-seeking, and ungenerous. Perceived more along the lines of “covetousness” or “greediness” nets you (ah! the repulsive Gordon Gekko strikes again!) acquisitive, avaricious, grasping, mercenary, miserly, money-grubbing,piggish, predatory, rapacious, tightfisted, and voracious. Looked at mainly as “thinking very [extravagantly?] highly of oneself,” its uncomplimentary synonyms include conceited, megalomaniacal, narcissistic, self-absorbed, self-serving, and vainglorious. And lastly, seen in terms of insensitivity toward others–or general inconsiderateness–we have such unflattering descriptors as boorish, brash, discourteous, impolite, rude, thoughtless, uncharitable, and unkind.

Okay, I rest my case. No positives at all here (unless, that is, you happen to be one of the Koch brothers!).

But what happens if you hyphenate the word selfish?–which, I must confess, no one appears to have done before me. How might placing the “-ish” suffix after the root “self” change the whole tenor of the word’s meaning? in effect, transform it semantically? . . . and into something positive–in fact, actually desirable.

Let’s take a look. Among the meanings of “-ish” are: “having the characteristics of,” “belonging to,” or [my favorite] “concerned with.” If you’re the center of your universe (after all, who else could possibly be a better candidate for the job?), is it not fitting that your very orientation toward life ought to have a certain self-interested focus? that your primary “concern” should be, well, you?

None of this, to me, implies selfishness as such. It’s just that if you’re going to (1) take complete responsibility for your thoughts and feelings, wants and needs, and (2) strive to reach your full potential, it makes perfect sense to make yourself your highest priority–to focus your time and energy on advancing your own welfare. That is, to be self-ish. And there’s absolutely no reason that you can’t at the same time be concerned about, loving and nurturing, toward others. However ironic it might at first seem, much research has shown that giving to others may ultimately be one of the most effective ways to nurture yourself.

Here is the link to the full article.

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