How many people are schooled by their parents, churches and other organizations that tell us we should always put others first? Does that sound familiar to you? Dr. Dain Heer recalls how, as a child, he would wake up every morning and ask: What does my mom need from me? What does my grandmother need from me? and on and on. Nowhere was he asking: What do I need for and from me today? Somehow this idea of putting others first seems noble to most of us. If we’re doing that doesn’t it prove we are a good person? That we’re doing it right? Even if putting others first depletes us and creates burn out, it’s the honorable and moral thing to do, isn’t it? What if putting yourself in the computation of every day and every choice could actually create more for you and everyone else?
You may be asking: How could that be possible? Isn’t that selfish? When an infant cries, is he being selfish, or is he being in the computation of his life? He’s aware that if he doesn’t cry and demand attention, he could die. We accept those tears, we can even be grateful for them, because they let us know how we can gift to the child’s development and growth. What if, like the infant, being in the computation of our own lives is actually the key to developing into the wonderful, unique being that each of us actually is? What if being in the computation of our own lives is actually required for each of us to show up as the unique contribution that we are? Can you imagine a race horse that is constantly giving it’s oats away to other horses, taking a lesser, more cramped stall and deferring to others when it’s his time to ride? Could that horse ever step into it’s potential and provide the gift that it is to the world? Each time we are not in the computation of our lives, we create a situation similar to the race horse, where we do not allow our own being to grow and develop.
Let’s look a minute at what being in the computation of your life actually means.
First of all, if you’ve judged that you would be selfish, then you are not. Truly selfish people never concern themselves with the needs of others and never consider themselves selfish! The only people who judge themselves as selfish are those who are actually aware of the needs of others.
What if being in the computation of your life is not the either/or approach that many people have been led to believe it is? What if you could be in the computation of your life and still consider others? You can! Being in the computation of your life is an approach that considers the whole, not just the parts of any given situation. For example, many of us have been told that if someone asks for help, or we’re even aware of their need for help, that we should give it no matter what the cost is to us. (This example is for “everyday” kinds of things, not true emergencies.) Suppose you are at home with your partner or kids or the whole family spending some very needed time together and a friend calls asking for help with a problem. You can ask questions like: Does it work for me to talk with this person now? Is it expansive for me?, for my family? If you get a “no” you can always say that this isn’t a good time, but you will call them back later, or even suggest that they call someone else. That may be difficult at first, but what if by doing so, you are actually including the welfare of yourself and your family in your choices? Some other questions to ask are: Does this person do lots of unnecessary trauma/drama? Are they a perpetual victim, or is this a true emergency? Are they asking me to do something they really can do for themselves? Have I become the “go to” person for solving their problems? (This last can be true of work or volunteer situations too!) If you’ve been the one who is always available, if you’ve not been considerate of yourself, people will also not be considerate of you and your time. You ARE valuable and you deserve to honor yourself and your time!
Being in the computation of your life includes becoming aware of what your needs, wants and desires are. How many of you have spent so much time being aware of other’s needs, wants and desires of others that you’re not even sure what’s true for you?! If you find yourself in that position, please take some time each day to notice what supports your, nurtures you, excites you and is fun for you. By doing so, you begin the process of becoming more and more of who you really are. The odd thing is that if we don’t look after our own selves, we really have nothing to give others. Have you ever noticed that? Nor are we modeling for others a life that’s expansive and inspiring. Consider the mother whose whole life is centered around her children. She may say and truly believe that they can grow up to be or do anything that they want to be and do, but what the kids see is that women have to sacrifice all of themselves for their children’s lives. What if you asked yourself – what am I inspiring in my children and others? Could it be that by being in the computation of your life that you are giving your children, co-workers, and friends an example that could inspire them to be more? We really don’t do anyone a favor when we diminish, drain ourselves, and make ourselves less than.
What if, even once a day, you asked the question: Am I in the computation of this situation? Am I considering what would work for me here, before considering what everyone else wants of me? Might that being to change and expand your life in ways you never imagined? The world truly does need the gift that you are that you may not even be aware of!