“Can we heal the world without healing ourselves?”
This question made me stop and ask as I continued to read the rest of a beautifully reassuring article written by Jason Garner entitled, “Radical Selfishness.” I couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief throughout the several minutes I spent with his words on feeling the need to save the ones around us.
Yes! Agreed. Oh. This is so me.
As I spent more time with his insight and the concept of what it means to be selfish, I unveiled the hero complex we so often create as a defense mechanism to our reality. For example, I have always been astoundingly aware of the emotional states of my friends and family. As good people, we make it a point to be emotionally available, to offer a listening ear, a hug, or what that person may need in any given moment. But somehow Garner’s words truly struck a chord when he wrote, “You, exactly as you are, sitting there reading this article, deserve to be loved. You don’t have to save or fix or change a thing.” And admittedly, the aforementioned has lent itself to the present moment of cultivating my own healthy and radiant radical selfishness.
We spend time worrying about things that are things. We worry about the future. We worry about having enough time to call our parents back on our lunch break that is only “x” amount of time today because there is a lot to do. We worry. What if we worried about the inside just as fiercely?
I began to explore the word heal. As an artist, I have experienced and felt what it means to heal and to be healed. I have gone to the theatre and been moved in a very personal way because that was what I needed that night. As a daughter, I have rubbed my parents’ backs as we said goodbye to my childhood home this holiday season. As a friend, I have understood that having my hand held and my own back rubbed is human. Healing is a two-way street.
I then began to challenge myself with a seemingly large abstract idea – what if I was my own best friend? What would I say to myself? Stepping outside of what we know and looking objectively at our current situation helps to end errors and make edits in large ways. I looked in the mirror. I studied my face, body language, and exhaustion. I immediately thought, “Oh my gosh. You need a hug.” And this is where the switch from saving the world to saving yourself triumphantly comes.
As our day-to-day stresses and obligations need to be taken care of, our inside work is just as pertinent. A large part of being selfish is in the delivery. The acknowledgement of what makes us feel alive, what nourishes our mind and body, and what will professionally advance us have become priorities.
What makes you, you? I have spent years knowing the idiosyncratic nuances of my loved ones. It wasn’t because I was assigned to care; it was because I was designed to care, to study, to observe my surroundings. This is a trait that makes me, me.
Give me a quiz on anyone. I’ll ace it. This is always a thought in an attempt at validating my friendships in a joking manner. My one best friend always lets a specific surprised laugh escape as he says, “You’re incredible,” in response to exhibiting any sense of having an active memory. For instance, the outfits we wore five years ago during that specific day talking about that specific thing. I have trained myself to focus on these small details, not only out of genuine intrigue in knowing people and my surroundings, but because this took the pressure off of learning about myself.
By exuding a certain self-sufficient lifestyle, you begin to notice people coming to you for opinions and advice. You establish a certain strong foundation that is appealing to others. And this practice of “being selfish” is rooted in such a way that offers others to do the same for themselves because it is healthy.
It is 2016 and I am deciding to be an active healer. For myself, for the world, and for the time I have here. Why else would we be generously given an opportunity to be alive? In healing ourselves, we heal the world around us through our passions and work places. In creating inner peace, we exude it. It is a practice as simple and complex as breathing. I invite all of us to enjoy the opportunity of honing in on our hearts and finally meeting ourselves.
Let us not be afraid to truly say, “Self, it is so nice to meet you. Welcome home.”
Nicole Clark is a recent graduated of Stockton University holding a BA in Literature/Theatre. She enjoys theatre, singing, drawing, and is an endless work in progress. As she is a babysitter and lover of dogs, children, and writing, she has taken a keen interest in traveling abroad to work on international conferences in Cyprus and Greece. Nicole is thankful to be inspire and be inspired.