photo-6.jpg

"It's time to be selfish"

Ahhhhhh, these words. It's the 14 week to go mark and I've heard these words, spoken these words, read these words. And yet, I cringe every time. I hate these words. As someone to holds very dear to her heart the value of compassion, hearing "it's time to be selfish" is like nails screeching down a chalkboard, especially when you are told that it's the only way to really be successful. Bah! I disagree.

self·ish

adjective (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.

It's a dirty word, a FOUR-letter word in my book (okay, it's 7, but still, might as well be 4).

"Lacking consideration for others"

Let's get real. Sometimes we all lack consideration for others.

When we are in a rush...we lack consideration

When we are stressed...we lack consideration

When we woke up on the wrong side of the bed...we lack consideration.

But when it comes down to it, most of us are VERY considerate of those we love and care about. We care deeply for the mental well being of our children, our husbands, and our close friends. Sometimes it's not on the forefront of our mind because we are preoccupied, but consideration we do have, especially when it's needed. Now, consideration, THE ACTION...that's a different story. Some of us are better at turning the consideration in our heart into consideration the action better than others. We are all a work in progress. So is it selfish to have consideration in our hearts but not be able to turn it into consideration the action? Or do we get a "selfish pass" because our intentions are good? What counts? Consideration the feeling or consideration the action? The definition in webster doesn't really say...

I got a little wordy there, but the point is, training for something with all your heart, has very little to do with the consideration you hold in your heart, or the consideration you show in your actions. Saying that it's "time to get selfish" when it comes to training for a big event (olympics, Kona, your first ironman, your first 5k, bikini competition, anything that really means a lot to you) really has nothing to do with changing your love, consideration, empathy, or compassion for those you love.

On the flip side, you can be training for absolutely nothing and still lack consideration for those around you (the feeling or the action).

What about the other part? "Concerned chiefly with ones' personal profit or pleasure"

I read this like 9 times and every time I kept coming back to "wait, aren't we all?" (was that a bad sign?) Is the antidote for this to be concerned chiefly with OTHER PEOPLES profit or pleasure? Sounds like being a mom to a newborn. You have no choice but to be concerned chiefly with that tiny bundle and it's profit or pleasure. But then again, you have been tasked to keep said helpless human ALIVE. Let me tell you. Those were the most emotionally and physically unhealthy days of my life. But I couldn't be called selfish, so there's that...

As we moms learn very quickly after having a newborn, you can only last a very short period of time if you refuse to take care of yourself. You gotta put your air mask on first before assisting a child. Now, "personal profit and pleasure" are a far cry from "survival" but when I read that line over and over I kept thinking, I think the real definition of selfish is to be concerned with your personal profit or pleasure over the SURVIVAL of something you love. But is it still selfish to be concerned with your personal profit and pleasure over the personal profit and pleasure of others, even the ones you love? So if survival is a guarantee for everyone in your "concerned" circle, then shouldn't the next task be to start concerning yourself with pleasure and profit? And why is starting with your own instead of others a selfish thing? Nobody is dying here, everyone is just trying to have fun.

I say it's not. I think that training for a big event (insert: olympics, Kona, your first ironman, your first 5k, bikini competition, anything that really means a lot to you), requires tradeoffs and choices, but none of those really have anything to do with the word selfish. Very few people decide to give up the compassion in their heart and put their training over the essential survival needs of the people whom they love and care for. It's just a very rare occurrence in my mind. Things like meth, and heroin are usually to blame in instances like this, not (insert large event here).

I'm done with this word as an easy metaphor for the choices and decisions that are made in good conscience to put much of my daily rituals aside to try to be an elite athlete for a short period of time. I have lost zero consideration for the needs of my daughter, husband, extended family, and close friends. Their survival is paramount and if that was ever at risk the tickets to Hawaii would be refunded in a heartbeat. The negativity and judgement that the word selfish brings along with it has no place in the hearts and minds of most people making choices to spend their free time swimming, biking, running, lifting, kayaking, studying for the bar, building a large company (you name it...killing it and dragging it home) and trying to kick ass along the way.

13 Comments