Balancing Being Selfish and Selfless

I spent my entire summer absorbed in my own mess and conflicted dilemmas.  I stopped working on all of my projects to focus on studying for the Maryland Bar and barely took a moment to even think about anyone else and their feelings.  I shut myself off from the rest of the world, because the only important thing to me at that moment was passing the Bar exam.  Looking back on that time, I cannot decide if that was a right or wrong decision.  I thought I was making the right decision at that time, but in hindsight I became someone who I never wanted to be; completely self-absorbed in myself.

From the end of May to the last week in July, I only had enough space in my head to think about myself.  Honestly for the past 11 years, some of my family members feel as if I have only thought about myself.  I went off to college and rarely came home.  I spent more holidays and summers with friends instead of planning activities with my family.  Coming home was always a chore and being there wasn’t always an enjoyable experience, so I kept it short and sweet.  Although I did not think I was being selfish, some feel that way and today I can start to see why.

Being selfish is always looked at as a negative thing.  It is viewed as a character flaw instead of a strength.  After having a 2 hour-long conversation with one of my favorite cousins, she said to me, “I finally understand why you left here and never looked back.  You have to be selfish sometimes to get where you want to be in life.”  She gets it.  Although she is my favorite cousin, we have not had the best relationship over the past few years.  We always seemed to be on the same side of things until recently.  Suddenly I was enemy number one and she became the voice that was going to bring me back to reality.  She learned that I don’t allow those type of relationships to burden me and I silence voices that aren’t here to help or encourage.

During our last conversation she finally began to understand that being selfish is not a character flaw, but a calculated decision to be focused enough to get to the next level instead of being stagnated by the opinions of others.  There are times in your life where being selfish is a form of survival.  Many people give until they are empty and have nothing left for themselves.  Being self-less can be a greater character flaw than being selfish.  Your emptiness can be more detrimental than being fully focused on your goals and dreams.

I can finally admit that I am selfish.  I can finally admit that I can be self-less at times, but I am mostly selfish.  I am learning to accept that as an asset and not a flaw.  I am doing what I think is best to be balanced, but you cannot always stop and explain to people why you do what you do, but most importantly you just have to know that what you are doing is in your best interest.

Right now I am in a self-less mode.  I am trying to change the world.  Literally.  I am still working on my own personal ventures, but most of my energy is going to initiatives that are greater than just me and mines.

Being balanced is hard.  It is truly a constant process.  I am a work in progress.  Pray for me on this journey. Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

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Trying to Focus

When you are not settled and going through so many changes, it is hard to focus and blog.  I have started so many blog posts and had so many ideas, but I can’t find my flow or the rights words to finish them.  My best blogs have popped up in my head and flew off of my fingers, so I am slow to post ones that take a lot of energy to complete.  I am in a transitory period and I am not in touch with my balanced and centered self.  My heart is South Carolina with grandma and my soul is in Maryland holding down the fort.  The most important pieces of me are not close and that leaves me feeling very imbalanced.

This adjustment period was necessary and would have been so much harder with my son.  I needed the time and energy to make good decisions and to find a rhythm.  My son won’t be coming into chaos but a mom who is settled in at work, settled into a new apartment, and has set up his new educational experience at a center close to our house.  I hate that I cannot see my little boy and I miss him terribly, but these past few months have shown me how much he needs consistency.

I want to blog when my heart is totally in it and I can relay the message that I know is needed.  I do not have a quota to fill so I am going to focus on quality and not quantity.  When something hits me and I can put out a few hundred words I will, but bear with me until I get the pieces of me back together! I am learning so much about myself and my purpose and I cannot wait to share the lessons that have been revealed to me over this rough summer, after making a huge move, and after seeing my failing bar results.  I have grown more in the past month than I have in the past year! 2014 has been rough but I will not let any of it be in vain.

Do not force your greatness.  Do not pre-release your wisdom.  Let your lessons be a natural light.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

When I Want to Give Up, I Remember the Why

Over the past 9 1/2 weeks, I have gone through a roller coaster of emotions.  It all started with the excitement of beginning the first steps to completing the final hurdle to complete freedom.  This soon glided into the endless feeling of being overwhelmed with the amount of information that I needed to consume daily, which then lead to mental exhaustion that made me fly back to feeling overwhelmed.  Then a sudden breath-taking drop came with the death of my grandfather, followed by the slow progression back to a level of focus that I needed to be productive and progressing towards being polished.

During many of the unproductive, completely overwhelmed and paralyzed due to exhaustion days, I wanted to throw in the towel, close the books, stop writing essays and stop practicing multiple choice questions, because I clearly was not going to make it to the end of this process better prepared than when I started.  I did not see the progress.  I felt that I was getting the same types of questions wrong and missing the same issues on the essays.  I decided that I would just go back to my old life, my old career, because I was never going to be ready for this daunting exam.  I kept telling myself everyday, “You are behind. You will never catch up.”  When I needed to rest all I could think was, “I am behind. I can sleep when I pass!”  I was angry at myself, at my lack of progress and at the idea of having to tell people that I quit.

Then after going months without seeing my son and days where he wouldn’t talk to me on the phone, we were able to connect with him on the iPad and I saw his precious face.  “Hi mommy. Hi daddy. Mommy. Daddy. Daddy. Mommy.”  In that moment, all of my stress, anxiety and fear melted away.  The only thing that was important was our special gift.  His smile, his laugh, his kisses…all of the things that I missed and the exact thing I needed to see to get my mind back in order.  After speaking with him and seeing his face, I realized that I cannot quit because I have someone watching my every step; basking in my successes and pushing me through my failures.

My son is my WHY.  For some people it is a car, a job or a vacation spot. For others it may be their mother telling them that she is so proud of them or standing next to their father who was sworn in as an attorney at the same place 30 years ago.  What your WHY is does not matter, knowing what your WHY is does.  If you do not have a WHY, you will give up during a breakdown MOMENT, instead of waiting a MOMENT longer and reaching your breakthrough.

After refocusing on my WHY.  I stopped telling myself that I was behind, and instead I told myself that I was where I needed to be.  Suddenly a burden lifted from my shoulders and I had renewed energy to make my WHY proud and complete the mission I set off to accomplish.  When you reach that moment where you cannot go on anymore, stop focusing on the negative, pessimistic or potentially disastrous outcomes and focus your energy on the positive, optimistic, and successful outcomes that you have worked hard to reach.  Focus on your WHY.  Keep pushing for your WHY.  Never give up because your WHY is waiting for you on the other side.

Your WHY won’t ever let you give up, so don’t give up on your WHY.  Why you do this.  Why this matters.  Why failure is not an option.  Why you can.  Why.  Stay the course.  Persevere.  Push through the pain.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.