|As a millenial myself, I am no stranger to the perceptions that the media has given our generation of being focused solely on enjoying avocado toast without a care in the world or any goals for the future. From my own opinion, this couldn't be farther from the truth.
When I look around at my cohort, I feel that the vast majority of us are working hard in often times very difficult societal conditions, pursuing dreams and trying to balance happiness, time for ourselves, and work commitments with multiple jobs or side hustles, and often having to sacrifice a lot to work towards our goals.
The following guest post praises the millenial generation for being able to look inward and focus on loving ourselves in order to be able to connect on a deeper, more authentic level with the world around us, which in turn can help us reach for that balance and achieve those goals we have set for ourselves. I hope that you enjoy reading Dr. Laura Dabney's guest as much as I have and as always feel free to share in the comment section below the article!
Millennials Know the Importance of Being SELFish
We’ve all heard of the virtues of being selfless and of committing ourselves to the needs and desires of others, but when we focus too much on these outward efforts we can lose track of ourselves. When we disconnect with our thoughts and feelings, we tend to set aside what we feel most passionately about and, over time, that suppression can lead to deep unhappiness.
Thanks to the influence of millenials, though, we have shifted from glorifying selflessness to advocating self love and SELFishness. A healthy dose of selfishness allows you to take action before any real trouble occurs. We have learned that it is okay to put up boundaries to protect our wellbeing.
How is it healthy to put our self at the center of what we do? Is there space for being selfish in our modern world? The answer is yes! Being SELFish is actually essential because taking time to understand yourself – your inspirations, thoughts, and feelings – will help you better understand those around you and will also aid in making choices that, at the end of the day, make you happier.
This SELFish approach is one that the millennial generation has embraced to illustrate that focusing on the self can make you happier, more well-adjusted, and a better member of your larger social circle or community. If you are still a bit confused on how being SELFish might be a positive virtue, I have outlined some key aspects to this SELFish approach and how you can reflect a similar practice in your own daily life.
1. Mindful Communication
Applying the principles of mindfulness to all modes of communication has proven to be a major asset for the millennial generation, and it is a practice that is easy to introduce into your lifestyle as well. Many millennials don’t just want to talk to others; they want to learn, connect, and grow from those experiences both in the workplace and in the larger world.
When it comes to interpersonal communication, millennials are adept at putting themselves in the perspective of another and are sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others such that they can read a situation and respond accordingly. When it comes to travel around the globe, millennials typically strive to connect with the local culture to understand what makes them unique but also part of the larger global community.
"You can’t be authentic if you aren’t honest and clear with yourself about your thoughts and emotions."
If you can tap into this practice and frame your communication to be grounded in authenticity and genuineness, you might find that your thoughts and ideas are received with more appreciation. So, how does SELFishness tie in to all of this? Well, you can’t be authentic if you aren’t honest and clear with yourself about your thoughts and emotions. Once you are in tune with yourself, you can communicate with others from a place of groundedness and sincerity.
Related: How to Identify Your Personal Core Values
2. Advocate For Your Viewpoints
At the same time that millennials are attuned to the feelings of others, they are equally resolute in their fight for what they believe is right in the world. Millennials don’t shy away from defending others against injustices like bullying, poverty, racism, or political debates because they too want their voice to be heard to make the world a better place. This is a great practice to adopt as well because being vocal about your feelings, however passionate, means that you are free to present part of your true self to the world.
The more you are you, and the more you share how you see the world, the more satisfied you will be with your life. The more satisfied you are in your life, the more joy you can share with those around you. How good does it feel to stand up for something you believe is right, no matter how big or small? Being SELFish means you put yourself first before others so you can offer others your true, authentic self.
3. Establishing Boundaries in Professional and Personal Relationships
Millennials often embrace a diverse circle of friends, but they also know where to draw the line between their relationships at work and at home. Much more cognizant of the work-life balance than earlier generations, millennials understand that they can only work as hard as their spirit will allow.
If work or a relationship is consuming too much energy, millennials try to be mindful and check in with themselves to establish a healthy balance. Whether that means going on a 15 minute walk or not taking emails during the weekend, millennials get the concept of “me” time and know how to set boundaries, prioritize personal health near to professional goals, and value connecting with the self to assess – and hopefully remedy – any personal relationship issues that might emerge over time. This self-awareness is important because it can help you re-prioritize and make choices based on what you want, not on what someone else wants from you.
Gone are the days when emotions are to be repressed and ignored; as the millennial generation has taught us, acknowledging ourselves – how we look at the world, how we feel – is crucial not only to our enjoyment of life but also to the health and happiness of our relationships. Being SELFish does not mean that we should become completely self-centered; rather it means that we give our “self” an equal space at the table when it comes to communication and relationships. We need to take the time to check in with ourselves and our emotional health, because by taking this time with the self we can boost both our personal satisfaction and the quality of our relationships.
To your emotional health, Dr. Laura Dabney
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