As I read many goals others are setting for 2013, I am struck by the number of them that relate to people loving themselves more, putting themselves first, focusing on “me” time, etc. I have very mixed emotions about such goals.
On the one hand, I can certainly see the importance of taking care of oneself, of engaging in healthy behaviors and setting a variety of personal goals that address some aspect of one’s body, mind or spirit. I will set goals in each of those areas myself, and share them with you in a few days. But where I wonder about the health of a goal is in actually making the goal putting oneself first. I realize most may do that whether it’s a stated goal or not, but I can’t get past the apparent self-centeredness of it.
Perhaps for people who have been repeatedly taken advantage of by others for years, a focus on taking control of their lives is appropriate. In other circumstances, though, is it appropriate to say that your goal for 2013 is to put yourself first?
When I look around me at the people I admire, at the ones who have impacted my life the most, at those whose example is worth imitating, none of them are people I would describe as putting themselves first. They always seem to be giving to others sacrificially, thinking less often of themselves than of those around them, doing without material things and experiences in this life so that others can benefit. Aren’t such people greater examples of what the best of humanity looks like compared to those who think primarily of themselves?
We live in a selfish world with no shortage of a “me first” attitude. As we suffer the consequences of societal deterioration through crime, violence, failed relationships and more, do we need more people committed to putting themselves first, ahead of all others? I don’t think so. Yes, we must take care of ourselves, of course, but not to the exclusion of intentionally taking care of others as well.
Leap year lesson #362 is Put others first in 2013.