Be Selfish

A blog post from SOLES MA in Marital and Family Therapy Ambassador, Gloria Saldana.

“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.”– Banksy

As a graduate student in the field of helping others, I have found that I have spent a lot of my energy focusing on the needs of others. Though I love the work that I do, I have noticed that sometimes I have a hard time saying no, or taking time for myself.  After starting practicum this past summer and with the start of fall semester looming ahead, I have realized that taking time for myself to do things that make me feel better is as important as doing what I can to help others. I realized that being selfish is necessary.

If selfish turns you off, then think of it as self-care. Self-care is defined as doing something that betters our mental, emotional and physical health. At the start of my program in Marital and Family Therapy, I remember all my professors as well as the second years stressing the importance of self-care. If you’re like me, the first image that popped into my head was a glass of wine and a bubble bath. I remember thinking how silly that seemed. It wasn’t until I started my practicum this summer that I truly understood what they meant by needing to take time for yourself. And again, for me this felt selfish. I felt that not doing everything I could to help, or saying no or even just spending time with friends was not a good way to spend my time. That is, until I realized that doing things for myself made me feel better, and made me more energized to tackle the next week ahead.

I have found myself saying no. To extra work, to favors, to events. I have learned to take time for myself and learn my limits.

I have found myself going out. With friends, to the beach, for a walk. Small things that I felt weren’t productive uses of my time have been the best way to reenergize myself.

Overall, I have found myself to be in better spirits when I listen to my needs and take care of them.

It’s important, as graduate students to remember to be selfish. We spend so much time and energy doing all we can to succeed in our fields and work to make a difference for others, but we can’t do that if we aren’t at our best. So with the new school year starting, remember to be a little selfish.

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