I made a decision long ago that no matter who was offering the big glass of poison, I wasn’t going to drink it. Seems like a perfectly logical decision, right? Who would drink poison deliberately? Well….turns out most of us do.
When I say poison, I mean a big, overflowing glass of guilt and manipulation. The giver might be completely unaware of what they’re serving up, or maybe they know exactly what it is. Either way, we still drink it.
The main ingredients in this particular brand of poison are “should” and “have to.” There is an underlying component of obligation or indebtedness that makes us feel we can’t say no. Another aspect is our need to feel good about ourselves by people-pleasing. However, looking outside of ourselves for validation is always a recipe for unhappiness.
When we give out of obligation, there is usually some bitterness there. When we give in order to boost our flailing self-esteem, there is manipulation added in. We create our own special brand of poison and serve it right back. Is it any wonder so many of us suffer from some form of illness, anxiety or depression?
Christmas is an especially rich time for the poison industry. We’re all running around trying to find presents for everyone in our lives with, often, very limited funds. Then, there are the obligatory functions we have to attend. Instead of being an exciting time of year, most people dread the holidays and can’t wait for them to be over.
I made the decision long ago to abstain from drinking poison. This sobriety meant challenging the status quo of society and ruffled quite a few feathers. It meant that some people weren’t going to like me very much. Some would downright despise me. It also meant that I had to look within for feelings of self-worth and validation.
It’s not the easy path, but it is the way to freedom and serenity. I say no to what I don’t want. I don’t attend functions I don’t want to attend. I don’t give my time and energy to anything out of obligation. If I can’t give it without resentment, I don’t give it. Some call this selfishness. So what? I think selfishness has gotten a bad rap. Is it selfish to say no to manipulation? Is it selfish to not look to others for approval? Is it selfish to refuse to go on the big guilt trip? If so, then I am extraordinarily selfish and proud of it.
When I do give, however, it’s motivated by love and a true desire to be of benefit. The recipients can feel that and give loving energy in return. This organic exchange is what I cultivate in my life and, as such, I live a magnificent life filled with extraordinary people.
I highly encourage you to explore your “selfish” side.