I obtain great pride in putting the needs of others before myself. When I shamelessly promote others, it strokes my ego. I’m more selfless therefore, I win. This mindset is a curse that plagues women. It comes from our animal instinct to nurture; we give from ourselves to sustain life. We give like Shel Silverstein’s Tree until there is nothing left but a stump. Ground down so low you have two choices: surrender or take action.

Selflessness is a bad habit. The first step to correct any habit is to recognize it’s control over you. I started to identify the times when I would say “I’m Sorry” or “Whatever you want, works for me.” My gut instinct is to compromise quickly, but rather than give my default response, I make sure to voice my choice clearly. It will feel awkward at first, but confidence and comfort will grow over time.

With so much focus on others, it can be hard to identify personal wants. I found joy to be a very accurate gauge. I started identifying the things and activities that made my heart sing and giggle with delight. My joy became the only validation I need.

Now I find it challenging to re-negotiate my old relationships. Those loved ones who are accustomed to me giving in all the time. My new found selfishness catches them off guard. It saddens me that some connections won’t last thru this reinvention. I look forward, knowing that new relationships will fill the gaps. I choose to expose my purest self and seek connections with people who nurture rather than deplete.