Episode 32: Enlightened Selfishness
Today we explore the caregiver syndrome, and learn why selfishness may be just what the doctor ordered. We’ll learn about how reconnecting helped a client not just with her health, but also allowed her to navigate her way to a more fulfilling career. We’ll also learn what happens when we’re not #1. We’ll go on a guided journey to allow us to set our priorities exactly where they need to be as we notice the surprising ripple effects of enlightened selfishness.
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Renee Stephens: Welcome to Inside Out Weight Loss. I’m your host Renee Stephens and together we’re accessing the control panel of your mind/body system, bringing ease and joy to your weight loss journey and fullness to the rest of your life. On today’s show we’ll be discussing who number one really is, the art of enlightened selfishness and I’ll be taking you on a guided journey to put your priorities exactly where you want them.
Renee Stephens: And she said that she couldn’t really remember getting an inner yes for a long time, and as she traced it back she realized the last inner yes she had had was coincidentally shortly before she had gone on the antidepressants. In other words, she had not been able to have a read of her inner yes the entire time that she was on the antidepressants.
Renee Stephens: I’ve worked with many people over the years and I’ve noticed one thing that absolutely prevents them from being naturally slender, and if you don’t have this thing together then your success will be intermitten and opportunistic at best. What do I mean by that? I mean that when things are good you’ll do well. When they aren’t though, when something comes up in life and throws you off, you will not.
Renee Stephens: When she came back in she said, “Well I’m hoping now that things are calmed down I can refocus”, and I said to her, “Yeah, but what about the next time somebody needs care taking in your life, because almost certainly there will be something that comes up important?”, and she realized that yeah, certainly the next time that someone else important in her life needed attention she would be there. And of course, for the other person she’d be there but not so much for herself. So I took her on a little journey that I’d like to take you on.
Renee Stephens: So lets take a moment to arrive and be present with ourselves, to come into this moment and simply be with all that is. Take a moment to notice your senses, notice what you’re seeing with your eyes in this moment, whether they’re opened or closed. Notice what you’re hearing, the sound of my voice. Notice what you’re smelling. What you’re tasting. And finally, notice what you’re feeling in your body. Whatever it is, don’t resist it, accept it, notice it, be present with it. Now think of your intention for this episode. Let it arise and present itself to you. Let it be whatever will serve your highest good and help you achieve your dreams. Your intention may be just that, to serve your highest good. Or perhaps to do something truly good for yourself today, to make a step forward, to self-correct or reconnect or even to have a breakthrough. Go ahead and set it now. My intention is simply to help you achieve yours. And while we’re in this place lets also take a moment to connect with all of the other listeners of this show, across space and time, feel their presence, the shared journey, and send them your support, and feel theirs as it comes back to you many, many times over. If you would actually like to connect with these other listeners in real time, go ahead and join the Yahoo group, the FaceBook or MySpace Inside Out Weight Loss groups. They’re all completely free and a great place to support and be supported. You’ll find links on the blog at personallifemedia.com/renee. Last episode we discussed plateaus as an invitation to self-correct, to put down the baggage we’ve been lugging around and reconnect. Self-correcting is really to your higher self, to God, to goddess or spirit, because when we’re plugged in we have access to so much more than when we’re swimming around adrift in our own minds, it’s in this place of connection that we can access enjoyment, flow, peace. We can know what we truly want, what our likes and dislikes are. In fact, I have clients who honestly don’t know their own likes and dislikes because they’re so turned off to their bodies and to their intuition. One client of mine had been taking antidepressants for about eight years I think when we were working together, and during the course of our work together she decided to stop taking them. Well you can imagine, that caused her suddenly to really feel her feelings, and it turns out that for her the antidepressants sort of tampened down her feelings, her emotional life became much more even rather than having the ups and downs that used to have, so all of her emotions, the good and the bad became much more even. Well that was helpful to her, or so it seemed, except for when she came off of these antidepressants, we were talking about an important decision that she had to make in terms of her career direction. And I asked her how she knew when she had an inner yes, an inner sign that said “yes, this is the right thing to do.” And she said that she really couldn’t remember getting an inner yes for a long time, and as she traced it back she realized the last inner yes she had had was coincidentally shortly before she had gone on the antidepressants. In other words, she had not been able to have a read of her inner yes the entire time that she was on the antidepressants. So now that she was off of the antidepressants, she found herself in a career that was really unfulfilling to her, that she had a big old honker inner no to. And the challenge of course was that she had reached a certain level of income and success in this career direction but she didn’t want to continue it, she wasn’t fulfilled in it. It’s almost as if she had been on an eight year detour. And so we mapped out what an inner yes is for her, how she knows that she’s having it so that now as she considers her options and opportunities, she’ll be able to check inside and say, “Yes, this is the right thing for me to do. This is the right direction for me to go in.” I’m telling this story about this client because I want to point out the importance of checking inside, of getting that direction from our higher selves, from our intuition, from our inner knowing, or indeed from spirit if you think that way, or God or your higher power, whatever’s meaningful to you. And self-correcting or reconnecting is an important way to do that. And I should also mention that if you happen to be taking any kind of mind altering medication like an antidepressant, it’s very important that you consult with your medical professional before making any sorts of decisions about any changes to your medication. Okay, so lets turn to talk more about how so many of us put the needs of others before our own. We’re hopeless helpers, even martyrs to the cause. We take care of children, spouses, friends, parents, even stray animals. It seems noble to us, important. In fact we’re comfortable putting others first. We’re caregivers extraordinaire. Yet, what of us? What of the caregiver? Who cares for the caregiver? I have to thank a rather unlikely icon for part of my inspiration for what we’re about to talk about. I mentioned a few episodes ago Ayn Rand. Her opus was the book Atlas Shrugged and her previous book The Fountain Head was made into a movie back in the 50’s or early 60’s. She founded the ideology of objectivism, which I dare say is just a little on the extreme side. But did I mention that she’s an unlikely inspiration? Anyway, Ayn Rand promoted the idea of rational self-interest. She believed that selfishness was in fact a good thing, not a bad thing, because it caused us to strive to better ourselves and our lives. Promoting our own self-interest motivates us to work hard and make it better, and you know, I actually think that old Ayn Rand was onto something. Lets take charity for example. It’s selfish. In fact, recent research proves that giving away money makes us happier than spending it on ourselves. I can’t tell you how excited I am that philanthropy is actually becoming sort of fashionable again, becoming a value that our culture is beginning to promote even more with the examples of Warren Buffet giving a huge chunk of his fortune to Bill and Melinda Gates’s foundation, the examples of Oprah Winfrey’s Big Give TV show. This is wonderful stuff, and it’s all terribly self-centered. It’s all extremely selfish because it makes us feel good to give away money. It makes us feel good to help others. So there’s another example. Do you hold a grudge against anyone? Can you think of someone whose wronged you or hurt you? Most of us can easily. And how much energy does it take you to carry that grudge around with you everywhere you go? Grudges weigh us down. They are loads that we bear. Do you really want to let that person weigh you down everywhere you go? I bet you don’t. What would it be like for you to just let it go, to release it and move on? Because one of the most selfish things that we can do is forgive another person. We forgive and our burden is released. We’re set free in the only way we can truly be set free. Learn forgiveness as a selfish act and how to do it, how to cultivate it in our lives in a future episode. Lets take a break now to support our sponsors. This is Renee Stephens and you are listening to Inside Out Weight Loss on Personal Life Media. We’ll be right back.
Renee Stephens: We’re back now. Before the break we were talking about forgiveness and charity as acts of selfishness. So building on Rand’s idea, I’d like to extend rational self-interest and call it enlightened self-interest. Note that lightened part of the word there folks. Enlightened self-interest means taking the longer-term view. It means considering that if we put our oxygen mask on first we’ll then be around to help many others, which will make us feel good. It means recognizing that depleting ourselves of the service of others will not work for very long. We try to put on the oxygen mask of the person next to us, but forget to put our own on with disastrous consequences for all involved. I’ve worked with many people over the years and I’ve noticed one thing that absolutely prevents them from being naturally slender, and if you don’t have this thing together then your success will be intermitten and opportunistic at best. What do I mean by that? I mean that when things are good you’ll do well. When they aren’t though, when something comes up in life and throws you off, you will not. Let me tell you about a client of mine. She did wonderfully with me. We worked together, she lost weight easily and effortlessly, and we didn’t need to work together so frequently so we took a break, in fact we didn’t have any sessions for several months in fact, and about four or five months later she contacted me and said that she was really in need of help of some self-correcting, and sadly she’d actually gained back the weight, or some of the weight at least, and was in a bit of a funk. Well, it turns out that everything was going great for her when we were working together, and as we tapered off our work all was going well, but then in the fall of last year several close people to her had become ill and she was very worried about them. So she went into caregiver mode. She went into care taker mode and started focusing on these people, these very important people in her life and in her family and began to forget about herself. When she came back in she said, “Well I’m hoping now that things are calmed down I can refocus”, and I said to her, “Yeah, but what about the next time somebody needs care taking in your life, because almost certainly there will be something that comes up important”, and she realized that yeah, certainly the next time that someone else important in her life needed attention she would be there. And of course for the other person she’d be there but not so much for herself. So I took her on a little journey that I’d like to take you on right now. Go ahead and sit back and relax, unless you happen to be driving a car in which case stay alert and awake completely, and listen to this guided journey when you’re in a place where you can really relax and let go. Now, go ahead, drop inside and become present with you. Begin to pay attention to your senses. Again, check in with what you’re seeing. Check in with what you’re feeling in your body. Notice any taste in your mouth. And go deeper. Notice any sounds or the sound of my voice. In fact, you can simply focus on the sound of my voice as you focus on the feelings in your body. And the things that you’re seeing with your eyes opened or closed. Focusing on all of these things, all of your sensory input together. Noticing the sense of aliveness and relaxation that you have. And as you do, I’d like you to begin to think about yourself. Begin to think about where you are on your own priority list. Thinking about putting yourself second or third on your priority list, because if you do, if this is where you are on your own priority list, and as I said a moment ago, you’ll be successful at taking care of yourself when nothing else big is going on in your life, but how often does that happen really? So I want you to think about the consequences of putting yourself second or third or fourth on your priority list. Think about what that’s like for you, and I want you to imagine a future where you do this, where you put yourself second or third or fourth on your priority list, so others and other things, other people and things always come first, and self care is way down the list. So I want you to imagine what that would be like for you in a months time, in three months time, float out six and twelve months from now. Where are you that you put yourself second or third or fourth on the list? What’s it like? You do a little bit when you can, maybe, kind of, sort of, and then work gets busy or life gets busy or family gets busy or romance gets busy, there’s a crisis or big stuff happening and your priorities are on those other things, and so you aren’t eating well and you aren’t sleeping well and you aren’t exercising well, and there you are a years time. And what about two years time? Three years? What’s it like for you now? In five years time? What’s that future? Let it be real for you, your future in five years time, in ten years time, where self care has been an afterthought. Are you in the kind of relationship that you want to be in? Do you have the kind of home and personal life that you want? How do you feel in your body? What’s your health like? What kind of news do you get when you go to the doctors office? How’s your mobility? How’s your vitality? How’s your enjoyment of the day to day? And take it all the way out twenty, thirty years, way out, forty years, fifty, to the end of this lifetime and beyond. What’s that like for you? This is with you and the number three, two, three, four, five place of your priority list. Now, begin to come back to the present, noticing what it’s like to have put yourself so far down on the list. You can think of something else that’s down on your list and notice what kind of care and attention that gets and how well it gets developed. So back in the present moment, I want you now to begin to consider a different future. Notice the one that you’ve just looked at, the ones that you’ve just experienced and previewed and the consequences of that future. And now I want you to consider an alternate future, a future where you and self care come first, where your oxygen mask goes on first. This is a future where no matter what happens you make sure that you put wonderful healthy food in appropriate amounts into your body, that you drink plenty of water, that you get healthy exercise, that you renew, you self-correct and reconnect. That you spend time doing things that renew you and with people that renew you. What’s that like for you in a months time? In two months time? And three and six months time? How’s that? How does it feel? What are the cumulative effects of this? And imagine a years time, what’s that? You’ve been taking great care of yourself, bathing yourself in self-acceptance and self-love, treating yourself like your best friend, like someone that you truly love and admire and take great care of for a year. How does it feel to be in this body that’s taken such good care of? What happens at the doctors office? What happens at the beach? Five years? Ten years? What’s that like for you? Twenty, thirty, forty years? Way out to the end of this lifetime and beyond? And now take a moment and look back from this vantage point, far into the future and I want you to notice something very important. I want you to notice, not just the benefits to yourself, but I want you to notice the ripple effects of taking great care of yourself. I want you to notice the benefits on those around you, on those that you touch. What does it make possible, that you are energized and renewed and full of life and health? What are the benefits to those around you? So simply notice that. And then when you’re ready, come back and be present. Come back to the present moment bringing with you the important pieces that you’ve noticed, comparing those two futures, the future of you putting yourself way down on your priority list and the effect that that has on you and those around you, and the future of putting others first. And then notice the consequences, compare that to the effects both on you and on others, of putting yourself first over time, because the effects build over time don’t they? And as you notice all that, come back and be fully present, a count from one two three, you’ll come back and be fully awake, aware and alert, one, coming back, feeling completely refreshed and renewed, two, almost back and three, completely awake, fully refreshed and renewed, bringing back with you the knowing of these two futures, the contrast. And I can just let you guess what the affect was on my client who I took on a similar journey. Yes, she emailed me a week later and two weeks later we had set up a whole series of appointments to get her back on track and she was able to space those way out, I think she cancelled most of them because she’s feeling so great now putting herself first, really feeling connected and self-corrected. I can’t wait to hear what you discover. That brings us to the end of our show today. Thank you for being present. For other shows on the Personal Life Media Network please visit our website at personallifemedia.com. There’s loads of great content to feed your mind, body and spirit. This is your host Renee Stephens and I’m on a mission to eradicate the weight struggle from the planet, replacing it with light, love and joy. Join me as we evolve the world by evolving ourselves. Take good care. By the way, we want to know who your are. So please go to the blog at personallifemedia.com/renee and take the listeners survey to tell us about yourself. It’ll allow us to attract the kind of sponsors who are critical to the availability of this show. Give us five minutes and get back your investment many, many times over. Also, if you enjoy this show please write a review on iTunes. As of today there are 55 five star reviews, which is wonderful because each review promotes the show through iTunes and attracts even more listeners to join us in this wonderful energy field of collective intent to end the weight struggle, replacing it with light, love and joy. And by the way, there are some great things to be found on the blog at personallifemedia.com/renee. You’ll find the latest articles and entries that I’ve written. You’ll also find a link to the new Inside Out Weight Loss butterfly logo wear, journals, tee shirts, tote bags, mugs and more. I’m so excited about this. Members of the Yahoo group suggested this, asked for this because they wanted to have reminders of the path that they’re on, the path to leading and living their own best lives. On the blog you’ll also see links under blog roll to my website, to the products that I offer which are some guided journeys that will help take you further, as well as links to books I recommend and other resources that I recommend. By now you know about the Yahoo group, the MySpace group and the FaceBook groups. We’d love to see you there. Take good care.