The three best pieces of advice I have been given are;
- Be selfish
- A healthy mind is as important as a healthy body
- Treat others as you would like others to treat you.
1. Be selfish
On the face of it this seems a strange piece of advice for me to choose as one of my top three pieces of advice. I hope it will become clear why I feel it is great advice.
I give talks and facilitate workshops on all sorts of topics. The title for one of my lectures is “Be Selfish”.
This topic draws a lot of interesting people. Some who attend are curious about what it is all about. Other attendees feel they give away too much of their personal power and so want to learn how to be more selfish. No matter why they come to my talks and workshops, they are all intrigued when I start my talk by saying that being selfish is one of the post important things to do if you want to be there for others as well as having a healthy life.
Now let me explain. As far as I can see there are two different types of selfishness. One is good and one is not so good. an example of the first, not so good type of selfishness is wanting the last cookie on the plate. This kind of selfishness shows a lack of friendliness or community. It demonstrates that you don’t care about other people and are only looking after yourself.
The second type of selfishness is the kind that says; if I don’t look after myself then I am going to be no earthly use to anyone else.
Let me expand. One of my friends was telling a group of us that his father had died when he and his 5 siblings were all under fourteen years old. He told of how his mother sacrificing everything to make sure her children had what they wanted. So far this sounds admirable. In fact, it is admirable. He went on to say that they were so poor that sometimes his mother had to go without food for days on end just to make sure he and his brothers and sisters were looked after. Again, on the face of it this sounds the right thing to do. After all who wouldn’t do just about anything for their kids.
My other friends, listening to the story, were saying what a tremendous mother she must have been and I found myself agreeing with them. However, in the back of my mind I was thinking; what if the mother fell ill because she wasn’t looking after herself properly? What if all the sacrifices she was making took a toll on her health and she died or became ill. She then wouldn’t be able to look after her kids at all. Disaster and certainly not what she would have intended.
Put yourself first
I strongly believe that we all need to look after ourselves first and foremost. We need to look after our mind, body and internal spirit so that we are at our very best enabling us to look after those around us.
Have you ever felt a bit run down? Run down because you are overworked and stressed due to not looking after yourself. You might have felt lethargic and not able to do the things you wanted to do. Imagine at this point a family member or good friend asked for your help. The help they needed could be moral support or a practical favour. If you don’t feel at your best you probably wouldn’t be able to help. Now imagine you feel in tip top condition. You look after yourself properly and feel on top of the world. The same person asks for the same help. I am sure because of the space you are in you feel energised to help in any way you can.
Being selfish and looking after yourself to be a totally well balanced and healthy person in your mind and body is vital for being there and giving your best to those you care about.
Three ways to be selfish in a good way
- Say no to things that don’t fit with your values or that you are too busy for. Look after your time, space and environment in a way that keeps you healthy
- Give to others only when you are able. Give your time and energy when it feels right. But respectfully decline if it doesn’t feel right.
- Dedicate time for yourself. Just you. Have some quality “me” time where you can do things just because you want to.
2. A healthy mind is as important as a healthy body
We often forget that a human being is made up of many parts.
We fall into the trap of thinking that being healthy is only about looking after our body. While looking after your body is important it is not the full story.
Our body can be trim and in good condition but if that is equalled by having a healthy mind too, then we are looking at full health.
Humans are one of the only animals to have a sense of ‘self’.
We have an awareness of right and wrong and can empathise with other people and animals with which we share this world. Although there is evidence that other animals have a certain awareness similar to humans, we are singled out as having a special place in the world. So, it is important to look after this critical and important part of our overall being.
Three tips for looking after your mind
- Exercise it just as you would your body. Keep your mind active and make learning a life long journey
- Stretch your mind. Step out of your comfort zone now and again. Discovering what you are capable of is a fun and exciting way to keep your mind healthy
- Be creative. Think out the box so that you can feed the creative side of your being. You might not think of yourself as being creative but you are. Do you have an imagination? Then you are creative. Let your mind wander sometimes and see where your imagination takes you.
3. Treat others as you would want others to treat you
The wold is a community. Each of us is part of this community to a lesser or greater degree. Some people throw themselves into getting involved in their local community or the world community. Others don’t do any of that at all.
Even if you are one of the latter, you are still part of the community of the world. Not getting involved doesn’t exclude you from being part. Think of it in this way. You may join a gym or another type of club. Even if you never step inside the gym or club, from the point of joining, you became part of the community as soon as you joined.
You joined the community of the world the second you were born. You may not have consciously signed up for it but never the less you are a member of this special club by default.
Just as being a member of a club or gym means you need to abide by the rules, you also should conform to the rules of the world club of which you are a member.
I think one of the most important rules of being a member of the club of life is to treat others as you would want them to treat you
Three tips for treating others as you would want to be treated
- Be respectful. Respect is number one every time. Being respectful costs nothing and doesn’t take any effort for you to achieve.
- Be honest. Again, honesty costs you nothing. Honesty should be one of everyone’s core values.
- Be yourself. If you are just being who you are then your good points will surface and everything else will fall into place when it comes to treating others as you would like to be treated.
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