One of the things that religion teaches you is that you must serve others before yourself. You must always put others ahead of yourself. In fact, you should neglect your own needs for the sake of others.
To take care of yourself is a sign of weakness and selfishness. To take time for yourself in order to care for yourself is understood as an unfortunate need for an inconvenient sabbatical that is temporary until you get well enough to serve others again.
Which is odd! Because the people we admire from the bible, like Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Paul, were the most radical, independent and uncooperative people we could ever meet. They had a knack for not keeping followers, and losing popularity seemed to be their greatest skill. Plus, spending long periods of time alone… sometimes insistently… was habitual.
So take some time for yourself! You will feel selfish because you’ve been trained to think that way. So here’s how you do it: allow yourself to feel selfish. Try to see it as an act of strength. Say you’re doing what Jesus would do. Or Paul. Or Moses. Tell yourself that you’re putting the oxygen mask on yourself first in order to be safe and sane enough to help people later and more effectively.
Look at this beautiful scene I painted. The snow, the sky, the trees… one could call them selfish. They aren’t “thinking” of anyone else. But they play a marvellous role in giving us a sense of serenity just by being.
That’s what I did. It works.
Do you like this painting I did called “Serenity”? You can buy a print here.