Never in my life has it felt this good to be selfish. Actually, before I learned what youre about to learn, I only ever felt guilt and shame when I acted selfish. Today, selfish is the new me.
Granted, I was never the type to always put other people above my own needs. I know plenty of people who selflessly take care of everyone in their life, except themselves. Im not sure how thats working for them, but for me, Im not like that, and I never was. So, when I had kids and became a mom, I started noticing how much I put myself and my relationship with my husband first, and how little other people were doing the same. I immediately didnt care what other people thought. Only I know what is best for me and what I can and cannot handle. Today, I can tell you with absolute certainty that I am not fit to be strictly a stay-at-home mom and homemaker. Nope.
I would never be happy with that. In the past, thats what Ive done. There was a full years time when thats all I did. Did I love it?
Nope. Did I hate it? Nope. I dont hate. Its too strong of a negative emotion for me. However, in hindsight, I can tell you that I was depressed.
It only got better when I went back to school and my life suddenly felt like it had purpose. I had a mission: I wanted to finish school. Hence, doing something that I wanted made me feel better. And then school life ended and I was just a stay-at-home mom, again. The economy was in a recession and no one would hire me. I desperately needed a way out, but didnt know what I wanted. All I knew was that I didnt want to stay home, so I thought my only option was to get a job so I can get out of the house.
Problem solved, right? If only it were that simple. I applied for work as soon as I could. I interviewed, was offered a position, but because I was unable to start right away, the offer was taken off the table. At that moment, I felt relief. I remember standing there, still holding my cell phone, wondering why I felt such a wave of relief. As it turns out, whenever you feel relief, its your bodys signal to you that you are going in the right direction. Furthermore, whenever you feel any negative emotion, its your bodys signal that you are going the wrong way. It wasnt until I felt that relief that I realized that I couldnt ignore my bodys signals and that I needed to start doing what felt right. The thought of working felt restricting, like Id be in handcuffs. I enjoyed doing what I wanted to do, whenever I wanted, the freedom of being a stay-at-home mom. I just didnt like the part where all I had to do was cook, clean, and care for the kids. I felt like I needed to fill my time with something that I wanted, without it consuming my whole day. And thats when I created my personal finance website for young adults. Id always wanted to spread the knowledge that Id accumulated through my years of education and Id always loved to write. Immediately after starting my site, I felt so much better. I felt like I had purpose again. All the other problems in my life melted away. I was so happy doing what I loved. And I didnt care that I didnt make a dime doing it. All I cared about was doing what I loved, no matter what. Since then, Ive learned that when you focus too much on what you dont want, you get more to complain about, and more things go wrong. If you are unsure of what you want, think about what you dont want and then create a list of what you want that is the opposite. For example, I didnt want to be just a stay-at-home mom. What I wanted was something constructive to do that made me happy. For many people, that could be a hobby, like scrapbooking or photography. For me, what made me happy was writing about personal finance topics. Thats what I want and love doing. The key is to understand that in order to do what you want you have to allow yourself to be selfish. Strip away the shame and guilt associated with the word. Trust me. The joy that will come from doing what you want will embrace every part of your life and suddenly everything about your life will be brighter. We all deserve happiness, true happiness. Find out what it is that will bring you happiness and you will be forever grateful.