"You're So Selfish!"

Susan Donnelly taking selfish time on the Superior Hiking Trail

“You’re so selfish!”

Few words put such a damper on your running or provoke as much guilt and anger.

Here’s this thing you love - running. Something that enriches you and your life. Something that makes you a better person.

Yet someone you probably care about tells you that choosing it over what they want you to do is selfish. 

I’ve tried everything you probably have.

I’ve given in to make life easier and smooth the waves.

I’ve passed up more than one run and spent countless hours of my life doing things I didn’t want to do or outright hated out of guilt, and then resenting the hell out of it.

Only to be told later that it wasn’t enough.

No one wins there.

I’ve defended my running.

But I just end up arguing til the cows come home without changing the other person’s mind. Another no-win.

If you’re stuck in either of those endless patterns, try what worked for me.

Change your own mind instead - be willing to be selfish.

Listen, your life is not a pie chart where you have to justify spending even a tiny percent on yourself before giving the rest away to everyone else.

Just because someone sees your running as optional doesn’t mean it is.

Your job is to take care of you. If you’re spending all your emotional energy doing what’s important to other people, who’s doing what’s important to you? Who’s living your life?

And no, being selfish doesn’t mean you don’t care about them.

Quite the opposite. Isn’t it better if you go to the concert that’s not your thing because you actually want to, for them? If you’re willing to say “no” and be selfish, then the people in your life know you do things for them because you really want to. 

It’s more honest and it’s better for everyone.

Getting this right has taken (and will no doubt continue to take) me so much work that I actually rejoice when someone accuses me of being selfish.

It’s like getting a gold star in the self-love department. 

I mentally high-five myself and say proudly, “Yes, I am!” 

Imagine how good it would feel to drop the defenses and stand peacefully for yourself.

What you could do.

How your life would change.

So the next time you’re confronted with that accusation, you're ready to smile and say,

“Yes, I AM selfish!"

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