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Lyfe Tough Talk Treat Yourself Tuesday

Beneficial Strategic Selfishness: It’s How You #Treatyourselftuesday

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Edited to add: Two extra thoughts for you today, my friends:
1) I am proud to be a runner and a marathoner. Whether you run or you know someone that does (thus everyone), today we are Boston Strong. More so than any other day, today I wear my MCM Jacket with the greatest love and admiration for the triumph of the human spirit. Today, I invite you all to be bigger than yourself by being selfish and going for a run. Do something that moves you.
2) OOoooh and happy Tax Day, American friends! Don’t be so selfish you don’t pay your taxes. NOT beneficial, though it may be strategic.

Since my last few #treatyourselftuesday posts have really been focused on material goods, and yesterday’s post (as well as everyone else) frequently discussed the weather, I thought it was high time to treat YOU guys to some of my gifts: my ability to think deep thoughts.

Ps, weather? You treated and then tricked. Not Cool.

You know you still love it (the meme, that is)

You know you still love it (the meme, that is)

Thank you to my fellow Chicagoan Becky for reminding us weekly to engage in a little bit beneficial, strategic selfishness.

Merci, Becky!

Merci, Becky!

What do I mean by Beneficial Strategic Selfishness? That we should all immediately devise strategies for our own personal advancement? Well, yes, kinda. And to the detriment of others, the denial of their wishes? Well, when you put it that way….yes.**

**Disclaimer: obviously, this is to be taken with a grain of salt (not Salt, calm down). Of course, I do not mean that you should go out and start stealing, sleeping with married people, murdering, or other manner of sinnin’ and philanderin’. You a little something called discretion and judgment, people. Or at least don’t link anything you do to me. PLEASE.

Sorry, you know I like a good tangent/diatribe. Back to discussion.

April is National Volunteer Month. It is (typically) the finale of the Lenten season, culminating in Easter and all of the reminders of forgiveness and sacrifice that goes along with that. Spring (also, typically) makes you feel nice and generous because the weather is all nice and such (hah). Students take advantage of that brief lull before finals, and parent take advantage of that last push before the students are set free. In short, it is a time when the world likes to remind individuals to look outwardly and to go out and pay it forward, akin to the holiday season, but slightly different. A balance, once again, of selfishness and selflessness.

Another type of balance.

Another type of balance.

Being no longer in regularized school, unemployed, and basically doing whatever I please (again, you know I don’t mean this to an extreme) for the past 2 months, I am starting to reach that point where it isn’t so much that the honeymoon has worn off, but that I am starting to feel pressure, but also desire, to get going. Pressure because of bills (thanks, Blue Cross Blue Shield, for changing your policies. I really enjoy paying $650 a session for a medication that I cannot be without), but mostly self-imposed: I made the decision NOT to go back to waitressing. To consciously NOT do “whatever it takes” to find a job right now. To spend $$$ on NASM, on yoga training (down the road), on the ridiculous amounts of food that I eat, on physical therapy for a sport that I could just as easily (again, hah) give up tomorrow. To sign up to run another marathon. To create a schedule that currently works for the current me. And to subject you all to the interior of my brain. Daily.

Life is a study of balance: give and take. And as much as we give, in order to retain balance, we must take at times as well, and we must do so without remorse, regret, or trepidation.

Haters gon' hate.

Haters gon’ hate.

Since we moved to Chicago, a move which, I must stress, I was completely supportive of and behind, I have undulated in and out of some pretty deep depressions. When things were good, they were great, and next I knew, I was in tears, striving to fit myself into a situation that I’m damn sure I knew damn well wasn’t damn right for (damn) me, damn it. I just wanted so badly to fit a niche, a home, and to apply this knowledge that I had paid for and that was seemingly dissipating before my eyes. I worked at that restaurant tirelessly–I was so thankful that it was giving me purpose, giving me socialization, filling otherwise empty hours, and leaving me with $$ that I lost sight of what it was really doing: driving me farther from my goals. But? Like I said, give and take–working at that restaurant is enabling me to take these few months off without concern that we will be able to put cat food on the floor. Being selfless enabled me to be selfish in the here and now, and being selfish NOW is perhaps the most selfless thing that I have ever done.

I am a different person that I was 2 months ago. March was one of the most satisfying and wholly-heart-filling months from beginning to end that I have experienced since my wedding. And throughout? Selfishselfishselfish. Trips, chocolate, yoga, presents, dinners out, starting NASM, going to PT, etc. I was doing me. This month? I started a little bit hungover from the overindulgence. But I needed it. And so did Alex. He needed to see me allowing myself to be happy. To take a little time to get my feet back. And to get my confidence, my SUZ back. But I also knew that I couldn’t act that way forever. Nor would I want to. But being selfish? Lead me to two amazing friends, a fantastic weekend with my mom I would not have otherwise had, and a snazzy new haircut.

newhair2

See? I’m trying to share the spotlight here!

Sometimes, we need to be a bit selfish in order to benefit others as part of a bigger strategic plan. Me working as a personal trainer is not going to be easy: for as selfish a choice as it was, it’s gonna be tough. But I will have a career that I love, helping people in a meaningful way, and I will be able to continue to see my husband, a huge part of the reasoning behind not going back to serving.

A much smaller example: sometimes, I need to just quit asking Alex, “What do you want to do?” and tell him instead, “You know what? I have a great recipe that you would make a perfect guinea pig for. I’ve been thinking about it all day.” And then make him eat Texturized Vegetable Protein. Because it is good for him. Or put beets on a pizza, or sweet potato and peanut butter together, or sweet potato into a quesadilla. You never know–it might become his favorite 😀

Not a food-picture, just funny.

Not a food-picture, just funny.

Moral of the story? Don’t feel bad for being “selfish” and sticking up for yourself. Not speaking up now might seem like a better choice, but then you are building something on a false precedent, a bad foundation. Like not doing clams and then having horrible IT band issues. Give and take, y’all. Give and take.

Pretty picture of spring things that make me happy. Selfish? Yes. But nobody likes winter right now. He is on the naught list. Spring? Get SELFISH.

Pretty picture of spring things that make me happy. Selfish? Yes. But nobody likes winter right now. He is on the naught list. Spring? Get SELFISH.

Now, who wants some ice cream?

How do you engage in beneficial strategic selfishness? 

What is a time when you wish you had been selfish, as being selfless hurt everyone in the end?

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19 Comments

  • Reply ranchcookie

    That sounds like an awesome plan! I am so glad you posted this! It is sure inspiring me and reminding me I have time to figure things out and not to jump on an opportunity that is not going to make me happy!

    April 15, 2014 at 6:42 am
    • Reply SuzLyfe

      Good! That was the intention–like the flight attendants say–put on your oxygen mask first and then put it on others!

      April 15, 2014 at 7:03 pm
  • Reply pickyrunner

    I love this and totally needed to read it. Man I feel like your posts have been spot on with my life recently. Are you sure we aren’t the same person living in two separate bodies? It can be stressful feeling like I don’t know what I should do but in the end, I should only do what feels right deep down. Being selfish sometimes is necessary. I’ve learned to say no to a lot of people this year-like not going out to the bars, not covering lifeguarding shifts, not going out to dinner when I don’t want to- and I truly believe I’m a happier person for it.

    April 15, 2014 at 8:15 am
    • Reply SuzLyfe

      Hhahaha maybe we are in parallel existences but only across state lines. That will make it very crazy when we finally meet. EXCITING.
      And yes, I think these transitory periods bring up similar feelings–like we feel the need to hold to things that we should let go, etc, but they also help us learn to be discerning and picky in the right ways–what REALLY matters to us?

      April 15, 2014 at 7:05 pm
  • Reply Laura

    I love this post – and I think for me, I need to give myself to be selfish sometimes, but then balance that with giving because that always puts things in perspective for me and makes me feel better. Not right now, though, right now I just need to put my head down and focus on school school school school school

    April 15, 2014 at 8:27 am
    • Reply SuzLyfe

      I”m glad that it resonates with you–and even though you are working on school, that is something that is incredibly important for you–you could be out working on everyone else’s business. Right now, work on your business–it will benefit you and everyone else in the long run!

      April 15, 2014 at 6:49 pm
  • Reply Baking in Yoga Pants

    I really love this post and I so appreciate your honesty. Can you hear a chorus of amens? I hope so. Taking care of yourself is necessary, not only for you, but for the people around you. There’s a reason that cute little “Happy Wife, Happy Life” saying exists. And good for you for recognizing that you deserve to treat yourself!!

    April 15, 2014 at 9:22 am
    • Reply SuzLyfe

      AAAAMMMEENNN! We all deserve to take care of ourselves so that we can better take care of others. You can’t be selfless unless you are a bit selfish, too. BALANCEBALANCE!!

      April 15, 2014 at 6:45 pm
  • Reply Ange @ Cowgirl Runs

    This is so great and so true! We often forget we need to think of ourselves in order to serve others.
    For me, it was when I was working in a job that made me miserable and treated me terribly because I wanted to status and the importance of the job. Staying there made me a terrible person and it was a really difficult lesson to learn, but, in the end, I’m glad I have that lesson with me 🙂

    April 15, 2014 at 11:27 am
    • Reply SuzLyfe

      Yup–even when it is a rough experience, you’ve gotta take it with you and appreciate the experience and where it has gotten you, but then be freaking pumped that it is over with.

      April 16, 2014 at 7:20 am
  • Reply chasingchels

    Amen girl. This is something I definitely had to learn the hard way more than once (hello ed) before it really took effect, but the changes it’s made have been monumental. I can say no to babysitting jobs when I’d rather have a night with Joe…that used to be a struggle. This morning I woke up throwing up thanks to a stras headache. Rather than trying to soldier on and go to work anyway (like I definitely would have even a few months ago), I texted the boys parents, told them I was sick and needed to spend the morning sleeping and was then able to come here by lunchtime to spend the afternoon with the boys. Next year, it might be my time to go back to school/figure out what I’m doing with my life. And it’s ok to do all those things. Sure extra money is nice and showing up to work on time regardless of being sick is great (depending on the illness), but in the end, taking care of me is what will allow me to support and care for the people in my life to the best of my ability and that’s what’s most important to me

    April 15, 2014 at 1:11 pm
    • Reply SuzLyfe

      Yup–I’ve seen that being martyr is only beneficial in your mind. Extra money is only good for buying more chocolate and running clothes, and even then it gets to a point where it is ridiculous. But it takes a while. But girl, you deserve to take care of yourself–you are so giving and care so much for everyone around you. You deserve to bask in your own glory for a bit.

      April 15, 2014 at 6:57 pm
  • Reply your mommy, Clare

    Reply #1
    I love the “happy wife, happy life” I have NEVER heard that one before! Really!!

    However, the phrase ” if mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” ( I’m in the deep south, remember) is actually very true. Moms pass on to their kids exactly what they really feel, even if they are great actresses and try to very hard to hide it….or ignore it.

    FYI, in the world in which I grew up, the moms’ plates were served last–always.
    If there was a burned pork chop, the rest of the family never knew it, mom took it.
    I tried to solve that by cooking an extra one………..when I cooked! But, it was reality and absolutely expected, mom came last. Being selfish just was not an option or even a consideration.

    I applaud your taking this time to re-Suse. It’s very important not only to you as a person, but also to you as half of a married unit. You count, as equally as he does, and by acknowledging that, it will serve you and Alex very well in the years to come.

    I had lunch at Seasons 52, today. I was gonna take a picture of it for you, but I cleaned my plate before I remembered!

    April 15, 2014 at 5:44 pm
    • Reply SuzLyfe

      You have too heard happy wife, happy life before. You just like the other one better 😛 It is high time that Mom and moms allowed themselves to be happy–sometimes that is by taking care of others, but you can’t forget or lose who are in midst of it. And mmmmm Seasons 😀

      April 15, 2014 at 7:00 pm
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