One of the things I notice in my clients is the way divorce allows people to settle into themselves. For years, you’ve been a “we,” a “husband” or “wife.” Now you’re just an “I,” a “father” or a “mother,” along with your other roles of child, aunt, teacher, etc. Divorce pushes the realization that we are actually alone in this thing called life.
So where am I going with this? This is supposed to be an upbeat blog, right? Positive psychology focus and all.
Well it is really awesome to be able to make choices that are specifically and totally for you. What I hear a lot from people is that they have to think first of others, then of themselves. After all, it’s selfish to think of yourself, right?
Wrong! You HAVE to think of yourself, because more than likely, no one else is going to have your best interests at the forefront. I’m not saying people don’t care about you. But let’s face it, no one cares about your well-being the way that you do.
The same people that worry about being too selfish are constantly surprised when others do not act selflessly. Look at the words we use to describe these behaviors: selfish, self-centered, self-absorbed, entitled. They’re all negative.
So here’s the deal. Step one is to think about what you need. Step two is to consider how that might affect others you care about. Step three is to decide what makes sense for you given steps one and two. I think this probably makes sense in marriage as well as in divorce. Caring about and for the self. Let’s call it self-care, not selfish.