By Nick Hines
In my experience of crawling back from a deep, dark, prolonged spell of depression and surviving a suicide attempt, I was introduced to tons of psychology terms meant to help me. One of them was self-care. The term sounded foreign to me. So foreign that I needed to explore what it really meant in relation to my life. The result, for me, was learning to be positively selfish.
I changed my habits
Learning to place a priority on my life that was centered around internal comfort and self-growth took work and time. I began by starting my life from scratch and changing every habit. Then I repeated this with every surrounding environment and routine that I could think of.
I did this over 6-8 months, in an effort to find different experiences and activities that would improve my mental state, and to discover which ones that I missed from my previous life would actually be a benefit. The things I did were stopping drinking, changing jobs, eating different breakfast, lunch and dinner options than usual, taking walks, spending time with different friends, and on and on.
I made firm boundaries
As time progressed and I regained my confidence in controlling my actions and desires, I became intent on protecting my “comfort and progress bubble”. Meaning, I make no compromises in my life when it comes to maintaining my mental comfort and progress.
What does that look like? I won’t take a job or position that will force a work/life balance out of wack and affect my dedicated time with my 2 year old daughter. I’ll definitely not stay in any relationship that forces a constant triggering of my OCD and Anxiety. I won’t be tempted by F.O.M.O. (Fear of Missing Out) and lead myself down a path of irresponsibility.
In other words, Positively Selfish. I’ve become OK with this concept as a way of making decisions and accepting the outcome of those decisions. Then not regretting those decisions, because the reason for said stubborn selfishness is overall positive.
I fully rebuilt my lifestyle
The concept of being positively selfish, for me, has evolved into how I hold myself accountable and schedule my time. The result? A fully rebuilt lifestyle. An example of this, for me, has been how I force myself to create an hour in the morning of time for myself and the same at night. If my work schedule is so early that it requires me to wake at 6 am, then I wake up at 5. This may require standing firm and turning down friends for a night out at happy hour the night before.
There are tons of forks in the road in our days, and I use being ‘Positively Selfish’ as my GPS to help continue navigating towards Self-Care.