Playing the Selfish Game


I was talking yesterday about all the things on my social calendar – days and nights so full that they were stressing me out.  Not complaining, really.  Okay, I might have been complaining.  Definitely was complaining.  Looking at my daily planner, my Bible, I was reminded by a friend that if there was ever a time in my life that I needed to be selfish, that I deserved to be selfish, it was right now.  All I wanted to do that night was go to yoga and go home, pour a glass of malbec, make some mushroom ravioli, and watch Parenthood.

I feel very out of my element.  Yes, I know what being selfish is like – I was a teenager after all.  But in relationships,  I was used to putting others first, and not in a good way.  In a way that ended up tarnishing my self-esteem, placing myself second repeatedly, and resenting those that I gave to continuously.  In the end, it resulted in destroying what I was trying to save.

So, I’m no longer doing anything I don’t want to do.  I am not going out all the time for the sake of going out, simply because that is what a single girl should be doing.  I’ve been doing that consistently for two months and I’m friggin’ TIRED.  I must be good to myself – and if that means lighting some candles, sipping my second glass, watching Sportscenter, and researching French lessons, then so be it.  To me that sounds much more marvelous than making small talk and taking out an overused credit card.  At least I will be doing exactly what I want to do.

I have offered everything I have ever had to give.  I have nothing left at this point in time.  I am grieving, struggling, and finding my way back on my own terms and in my own way.

I have been blessed to have had many romantic things done for me over the years.  Constant flowers bought.  Mixed tapes recorded.  Jewelry presented.  Gifts wrapped with care.   Chocolates sent.  Continuous dinners prepared.  Single roses placed on my car.  Spontaneous romantic weekends with surprise destinations planned.  And it’s not that all those heartfelt declarations don’t stand for something.  But if you want to sweep me off my feet, don’t surprise me with a key to our new apartment with tears in your eyes.  It’s been done, and obviously the sentiment doesn’t carry equal weight between two people.

If you want to do something to impress me, don’t do the above.  Instead, show loyalty, devotion, selflessness, and commitment, for that would be new and refreshing, and something I have not had the pleasure of receiving.  Save your money on trips to the Hamptons, lovely as it was.  I can rent a car and get there on my own.

I just want to learn to be selfish.  It’s only me in this stadium and I have to memorize the plays, throw the perfect spiral,  protect my blind side, control the clock, and stiff arm my opponent.  I am my own offense and defense.  And I’m willing to show up everyday for practice.

(FYI – this beautiful picture above was taken by my very gifted friend Ion Sokhos. I’m buying this for above my fireplace.  Peruse his talent at www.sokhos.com.)

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2 thoughts on “Playing the Selfish Game

  1. A good psychotherapist might say that a desire to become selfish is a defense mechanism, a REGRESSION back to a earlier time to deal with deep anxiety. You yourself said, “I was a teenager after all…”.

    You also said you have resented those that you gave to continuously. No matter what the relationship may be, when you look on another person as someone who can give you love, you are really faking love.

    Light your candles, make your dinner and watch your movie, but I’m guessing no matter how hard you try to be selfish you are going to really suck at it.

    Give without strings & give without attachment. Give because it is good to give and because it is the right thing to do. Sometimes people don’t appreciate your giving and sometimes take your giving for granted (to the point it hurts you, badly)…as a result would things be better if you stopped giving? Never!

    Saint Francis of Assisi said, “Lord, grant that I may not so much seek to be loved as to love.” Giving that is truly selfless can only lead to good things. Immerse yourself in the act of giving, care not how others receive it. Only this will lead to your true happiness…

    Happy Buddha Longtime

  2. it’s true, I do suck at it. I’m learning to revel in the “me” time, but I do enjoy doing all these things more with another person – watching movies, making dinner, etc.
    I understand your sentiment about giving, and not for the sake of receiving. Give to myself and give to others. I suppose there is a balance b/t the two, one that doesn’t lead me to disparaging myself in the process. Because I’m no good to others, if I’m not good to myself.
    Thanks for your inspirational words.

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