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I Feel Selfish Taking Care of Only Me ...

How to own your time and your money


I am a powerful, strong woman. I have no problem taking care of other people, fighting battles for the underdog and just plain getting things done. And yet, deep down inside where I stash all my secrets about myself that I don’t want anyone to know, lives this fear that I can’t take care of myself. How is that possible? How can I be a powerful, purpose driven woman who gets things done and also harbor deep fears that I can’t take care of myself? Just having this fear makes me feel so much shame.


It has taken years to come to terms with this and understand it. And what I now know is that it was never that I couldn’t take care of myself, it was that I didn’t take care of myself.

I’m not alone. I’ve witness thousands of women caught in this trap. Women who won’t negotiate for a higher salary; women who refuse to advocate for a fair settlement in a divorce; women undercharging for their services and women who simply can’t say “no” to an evening out.


What stops us from taking care of ourselves, from playing all out and playing big is not that we can’t do it, but that we are constrained by the need to not be selfish or even appear selfish. Any act of “self” must be hidden in a sandwich between two slices of “everything I’m doing for other people” bread.


What is it about this label – selfish, that makes us cringe in fear?


Guilt is the automatic feeling that rises up whenever you want to choose yourself. It feels so awful that you end up doing what others want just to make the guilt go away. You get to feel generous and nice and call yourself a “good” person. You’re on the receiving end of so much warmth and thanks from others. Most important of all, there's the relief that you can’t possibly be selfish, look at everything you do for others!


In an effort to avoid “selfish” you run the bigger risk of becoming “self-less.” But wait, this can’t be about you and me. We have careers and we express our opinions and get out in the world.


This is what makes the terrain so tricky and treacherous. We aren’t so much self-less as we are diluted; a weaker, less vibrant version of who we really are. We let the fear of being selfish eat up our time and our money so we end up with not quite enough to go the distance for ourselves.

It is precisely because we invest "just enough" time, money and energy into our own lives that we can’t see the forest for the trees. The many compromises we make seem little and inconsequential – because we minimize the importance of what we are giving up.


Here’s the thing though, time and money are not little things. They are in fact, big things. How you spend both literally says who you are and what’s most important to you – at least it should.


So, what rises to the forefront of this discussion is the big HOW question. How do you decide where your time and money go? Your answer to the “how” question is the game changer.


When deep in the core of your beautiful female soul your biggest fear is being or appearing selfish, that fear will call the shots every time. Your fear chooses, not you. Your decisions won’t always be the best ones and only sometimes will they align with your values and your vision for your life.


In those moments when your decision is based on avoiding the label of selfish you are not free to be authentic and real. You are moving in the opposite direction of your dreams.


Imagine you are building a home and all the materials for your new home just got delivered. The people who own the lot next to you are missing materials they need for their building, so you offer to give them some of yours. Six months later they are living in their new house while yours is still unfinished. Sound crazy? It’s not. How many women do you know who spend their precious resources helping other people create great lives?


You can’t – you won’t, take care of yourself any time you are running away from “selfish.” And, it’s your future self that loses every time. The future you will end up handling the consequences of today’s decisions. That’s why you can compromise, who you are today is not on the hook.

There is a way out. You’ve got to stop trying to “solve the problem” of not appearing selfish. To do that you shift your focus to being the creator of your own life.


Here are my five characteristics for sparking the creator in you.


5 Characteristics of a Creator™

  1. Mindset: I am Always at Choice

  2. Key Question: “What Do I Want?”

  3. Daily Focus: Align with Your Outcomes

  4. Primary Energy: Energy of Initiation

  5. Self Care: 51% of Your Time, Energy and Resources Go to Building Your Own Life.


Mindset: I am Always at Choice

Are you willing to be responsibility for your mindset and refuse to be controlled by this label?


Key Question: What Do I Want?

If you never had to worry about appearing selfish, what dreams would you allow yourself? Now create outcomes based on your dreams.


Daily Focus: Align with Your Outcomes

Your decisions, both big and small will now be based on your outcomes, what you want to achieve.


Primary Energy: Energy of Initiation

To avoid something, you use the energy of reactivity. To move toward something, you initiate. That means that you are in charge.


Self Care: 51% of Your Time, Energy and Resources Go to Building Your Own Life

Hold to what is important to you. The allocation of your resources tells the truth. Are you giving substantially to your own life? Track it and find out.


Finally, imagine it is 10 or 20 years into the future. You are now your future older self. How are you feeling as you reflect back on the decisions you made to create your own life?


Now imagine you compromised repeatedly and fell far short of your dreams. What do you imagine your future self wishes you had done differently?


The beautiful part of this exercise is that the future hasn’t happened. It is yet to be created. You are at choice. Now go choose.

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Anne Marie Clear is a Speaker, Trainer, and Coach. She has worked with leaders and world-class scientists for over twenty years in the areas of stress management, living from true authenticity, and building lasting relationships. 

Anne Marie Clear

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