How to be selfish (without anyone realising) and live a more fulfilling life

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  • Feel like Groundhog day's on a loop, your motivation's moved out and anxiety's moved in? Writer and leadership coach Majo (that's Ma-ho) Molfino knows exactly what you mean, sharing simple daily tweaks you need to make

    Let’s face it, we live in anxiety-ridden times. We’re anxious about our health, finances and the future. With so much uncertainty and challenges ahead of us, how can we build our resilience? Dare I say, how to be selfish? And by that I mean, it’s time to think of what’s best for your ‘self’. How to be selfish is a good thing. In my new book, Break The Good Girl Myth, I lay out five good girl myths every woman must overcome to lead a better and more fulfilling life.

    These good girl myths are coping strategies. We think they’ll keep us safe in the world but ultimately they’re disempowering. They are the Myth of Rules, the Myth of Perfection, the Myth of Logic, the Myth of Harmony, and the Myth of Sacrifice. During times of chaos and uncertainty, it’s tempting to buckle down on these good girl myths as a way to feel in control.

    How to be selfish – stop overgiving

    But we must resist this temptation, especially when it comes to the Myth of Sacrifice – putting other people’s needs before our own at the expense of our own wellbeing. Ditto the Myth of Perfection, that’s ‘hyper achieving’ (and making it look perfectly effortless), it’s also a way of numbing ourselves and escaping from reality. When we’re overgiving – whether it’s in our relationships or in work – we’re leaving very little time for ourselves. And we need time for ourselves right now. We need to take care of our bodies, minds, and hearts, now more than ever.

    how to be selfish

    Author and leadership coach Majo Molfino (Photographer: Helena Price)

    Self-care isn’t something we ‘have to do’ or check off our to-do list. I’m not talking about fixing, shaming, or correcting ourselves. It’s about listening to our bodies and giving her what she needs. Self-care is an expression of our self-worth and self-love. It’s a radical, continuous practice of prioritizing our wellbeing in a world that tells women it’s selfish to do so. It’s also our biggest buffer against anxiety.

    I want to empower you to become your own at-home ritual designer. You can adjust your ritual to be as short as five minutes during the week or as long as two hours every weekend. Unlike habits (which are fixed and repeatable), rituals are more fluid and flexible, which makes them fun and easy to design.

    How to be selfish – four easy self-care rituals  

    1. Write out your current morning or evening routine 

    Let’s begin where you are. Choose whether you want to work with your morning or evening routine. It’s best to work with the time of day you think will be easiest for you to change. How do you currently move through this routine? List out all the activities and it’s OK if your current routine has a lot of variety in it – a rough list is fine.

    2. Identify one self-care behaviour you can weave in 

    What’s a self-care activity that would nourish your mind, body, or soul? It can be tempting to think in terms of short-term pleasure, Netflix anyone? But ask yourself: is that truly nourishing? Focus on nourishment. My recommendation is to choose an activity that falls into one of these four categories: food and water, sleep, exercise and movement, or mental rest and clearing. For instance, drinking a few glasses of water with lemon, a yoga class, a warm bath, and/or a mindfulness meditation.

    how to be selfish

    Break The Good Girl Myth by Majo Molfino is out now

    3. Find an anchor behaviour 

    Let’s weave this new self-care activity into your current routine. How? Identify an anchor from your current routine. What’s an anchor? According to Dr BJ Fogg, Stanford professor and behaviour designer, anchors help people develop tiny habits because they’re existing behaviours you can attach a new one to. An anchor is a behaviour you do without fail, every day. Anchors can be very small and automatic, like raising the blinds in the morning or getting out of bed. Put your new self-care activity right after your anchor. Tell yourself: ‘After I brush my teeth, I will sit down and meditate for five minutes.’ Write your new ritual down and put it somewhere you can see.

    4. Experiment with your ritual 

    I believe rituals are prototypes that can evolve and change as you experiment with what works best. This means when you do your ritual, take some time afterwards to journal about what worked and what didn’t work. Was your activity truly nourishing? Did you choose the best anchor? What distractions came up for you? How can you limit those distractions? Did feelings of guilt emerge for you taking this time for yourself? How might you work with those feelings of guilt? In my book, I offer access to exclusive meditations, such as the Self-Compassion Meditation and Emotional Boundaries Meditation that can support you in working with any difficult emotions around doing your self-care.

    * Break the Good Girl Myth by Majo Molfino (published by HarperOne) is out now

    * Majo Molfino is an Argentine-American author, designer, and women’s leadership expert. She’s the host of the HEROINE podcast, featuring top female leaders, creatives, and visionaries. Her leadership program, IGNITE, guides women to design and share a creative dream with the world.

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