Friday, November 8, 2013

The Importance Of Being Selfish

The Importance Of Being Selfish by Piya Khanna


Trying to please all of the people all of the time? Not possible! Piya Khanna explains why you need to be selfish when considering the key question of what you want to do with your life.

(Imagine waking up every morning and not being able to do what you love.  Imagine not living your dreams because you're scared.  You know what happens when we don't do what we wish we could do? We start resenting ourselves, and in result we then start radiating that negative energy onto others. So guess what?  I'm okay being selfish with accomplishing healthy goals on my own, that way I can radiate that happiness onto others. Funny how that works, huh? ~Rocio Ponce)
Not bad being selfish in order to reach dreams, right? I'm okay with it! This type of selfishness never hurts anyone.
Here I am in Cirque Du Soleil as The Nanny (in fat suit).  This was an adventure, hard work, but a great experience.  Did it, then I had to move on to other things: 

Selfish is a bad word in most people's books. As a society, we applaud selflessness, honour, sacrifice and service and frown upon anyone we think of as selfish.

A little selfishness can be a good thing

But consider the opposite view for a little while. You can, of course, revert to your original point of view at anytime after reading this article. Just suspend your disbelief and indignation for a few minutes to explore this thought. I work hard, or at least I try, to make sure that I practice what I preach. I wasn't teaching for a while because of grad school, but the money started running out, so I had to come back to what usually do & that's train others to stay healthy. So I need to be first in line to be healthy in order for me to help lead others on a wellness path! It's critical to be selfish and self-centered, in my view, especially when considering the key question of who you want to be in your life. Notice that I said your life and not your mother's or father's or partner's or best mate's life. Since it is your life, who else could possibly have a better idea than you about who you want to be and what you want to do? A lot of people think they have a better idea, but will they live with the consequences of their suggested choices and decisions? No, you will, and if you are reading this piece, you probably already are and are experiencing a certain level of dissatisfaction. Here's the thing: if you were meant to live your life the way someone else wants you to, you would be that someone else. Since you are you, maybe there's a clue in that. Whatever/whoever created this magnificent Universe with all its beauty, wonder, splendour and mystery, created you. Is it possible a system so elegant and precise that every snowflake that ever fell from the sky is unique, messed up when it came to you? I don't think so. Out of all the classes I've taught: Dance, Movement/Voice For Actors, Fitness or MindBody, this particular Movement/Voice For Actors I taught at TVI Actor's Studio was my favorite, because these students allowed me to be a comfortable clown. Now, if that's selfish, then I love being selfish ;-). I don't have footage of the adult's Voice & Movement For Actors class because I just didn't film it, but I have footage of the Voice & Movement For Youth Actors:
If you don't follow your heart's desire, you'll eventually end up being miserable and resenting the people and reasons that you allowed to talk you out of doing what you want. It's a strange aspect of being human and we are brought up to please others and not hurt their feelings, so often we don't say no and then hurt ourselves in the process. The question I invite you to consider is,
is it worth it?

You're responsible for your own happiness

What would you tell your child or best friend if they asked you whom they should please themselves or another? Would you say, "Go ahead and be miserable, just make the other person happy? Of course you wouldn't! So what stops you being your own best friend? Many of us don't want to hurt the people we love and rightly so. Loving someone means you want them to be happy. The fact that they love you means they definitely want you to be happy too. Will seeing you unhappy make them happy? The key question is - do you love you enough to want to see yourself happy? After I worked my arse off in Jerez De La Frontera, Cadiz studying as well as performing Flamenco Dance, I came back to L.A. & was invited to teach a Bata De Cola workshop. How selfish is that? Actually, I was sharing what I learned. I guess it's okay to be selfish to work hard for myself to be better than I was yesterday, then pass it on to others. Selfish is cool ;-)
When we love what we do, we make sacrifices in our lives. We do them alone to not drag anyone into the hard work that goes into this journey.  Others see it, they enjoy it, but have no idea the hard work it takes to get to that certain level of caliber; and yet, as artists, we know we can always do better while those seeing us say, "oh my god! that was amazing." I wonder why that is?
We often say "yes" to others when we want to say "no". We do things for others when we know we don't want to. Sometimes, we even become someone for others because it's expected of us and we don't want to disappoint them and then we resent them for it! Resentment is not a loving emotion and it'll damage a relationship. Perhaps the quote that best describes this point is Resentment is the poison we drink thinking it will kill someone else. I also believe that we disempower others by taking ownership of making them happy. How so? Well if we take on the responsibility for another's happiness, the message they get is that they need us to make them happy and cannot be happy on their own. So, what happens if you have a bad day?

Bottom line is that we are each responsible for our happiness and it's their job to make themselves happy, not yours. It is however your responsibility to make yourself happy. Take ownership of your happiness.

Out of the years of doing theatre, I gotta say, working with these girls was fun (fun drama, worked with Omayra Amaya, & had the pleasure of working with a special cast member that past away). It was for Carmen the musical at the La Jolla Playhouse. What a selfish, but great life adventure ;-) 
Here's this reel that took a lot of selfish, but healthy, time to put together from different projects i've been in.  I love my life and I wouldn't trade it for anything ;-)
If making others happy makes you happy, the most compelling reason to follow your heart is that, when you're empty, you have nothing to give anyone. Think about it. If you've had a hard day at the office and come home exhausted and frazzled, how available are you as a loving parent or partner? How much of a friend can you be to another when you're tired and unhappy? We are at our most loving and generous when we are well and happy. That's when we can be caring and have fulfilling relationships with our loved ones and that's when we are most enjoyable to be with. The people we care about delight in our happiness! So you owe it to the people you love to be happy and well - mentally, emotionally and physically, because that's when you are at your best and have the most to offer them. Include yourself among those you love and you're more likely to make a sound decision when choosing what you want to do with your life.
This is one of the yoga classes I teach. I'm about to work on my second yoga teacher certification course starting in January 2014. Why? Because I want to deliver stronger & evolved poses to my students. But firstly, I am doing it for myself. How selfish is that? ;-) 

The reason I am certified in different forms of Fitness & MindBody is because I am passionate about the way the body moves, heals, and how the body can be changed, and the positive benefits and effects it brings to the body mentally, physically, and emotionally. There's nothing more than eating healthy and exercising:

How to start being more selfish

You need to build your selfishness muscle in small steps, just like any other!
  1. Before making any commitments or saying yes to requests, ask - “Do I really want to do this?"
  2. Be clear on the consequences of saying yes (or no) to a request and ask if you are prepared to live with them. If you are, go ahead. If not, reconsider and come up with an alternative.
  3. Learn how to say "no" and mean it. Practice saying a congruent and convincing "no" in the mirror (or get a friend to help you). Stand tall, chin up, chest facing forwards, feet hip-wide and firmly placed on the ground. Imagine someone asking you to do something you don't want to is standing in front of you. Pause, take a deep breath and say "no" firmly. Do this several times and practice every day if you are not used to saying no to people.
  4. Include yourself in your list of important people in your life and make space in your life for you. Start with the small stuff, for example, take an evening off every fortnight or month to do your own thing, whether that's going to the pub with your mates, getting a massage or going to the opera or a movie with the girls. (Remember to give your partner and loved ones the space to do the same).
  5. What fills you up? Do something that fills you up and gives you pleasure every month. Dance the Tango, read a great book, watch stand-up comedy, go to a music concert - whatever floats your boat! Schedule it in your diary like a date or business meeting and stick to it.
  6. Applaud yourself and your success on being selfish. Even if it's a very small thing like saying "no" to a telesales agent - celebrate!!!
  7. Be your own best friend. When you have a decision to ponder, ask, "What would my best friend advise me to do?"
Is it selfish to say that I love singing? Why? Because it's a great workout, the way I perform on stage, plus I get to meet other talented musicians in which helps me grow. How selfish is that? ;-)
I am passionate about wellness, nutrition, dance, theatre, and music. This is my band.  I am so lucky:
Go out there and be selfish because, when you are all of you, those around you can be all of who they are.

I teach/train others in fitness (I am a certified personal trainer) as well as in Pilates one on one and Pilates classes (I am a certified Pilates Instructor). I also have a B.A. in Dance from CSULB, am a professional Flamenco Dancer. Why? Because it has helped me physically, mentally and emotionally and I enjoy helping others reach their goals. If that's selfish, then selfish I am ;-) 

I work with all ages. This here is one of my students (clients) whom has improved her posture, strength, and flexibility. Very proud of her. She's a trooper:

Come to my class and come sweat a little. I teach fusion mat pilates class guaranteed to make you sweat, strengthen and lengthen, as well as bring you in focus. 

My Before & During pic here to inspire self .
human being functions the same. We all need different types of meals 
that our bodies will respond to, we all need certain types of workouts 
that our bodies will respond to, we are all different).
 Created my own meal plan & workout regimen customizable to my needs ('cause it was time to say good bye to the business of grad school & distraction from wellness: My workouts (same thing I do for other 1on1 students - aka clients [can't stand the word client. It sounds so impersonal] anyhow, same thing I do for my students whether it's customizing a program to fit their needs through PT, Pilates or Flamenco (yes, I have a private student who's taking Flamenco privates under my direction as a workout regimen - she says that apparently this way helps her learn the art form at a faster pace. So I just grill her because she requests it, - I have been doing for myself on & off for some years now (this time, i gotta stick to it because my health & well-being depends on it).

In what ways or areas do you find it difficult to be 'selfish'? What small steps can you take to start saying 'no' and creating boundaries for yourself? Leave a comment below.