When I was in my senior year at UC Davis I quickly uncovered what I wanted to come next: The Peace Corps.
It was a difficult decision for me to be at peace with (ha! no pun), though, because I knew what would happen in my life if I made that journey. I'd be far from my family for a number of years and the relationship I'd built with my boyfriend of 3 years would come to an end.
I knew, though, deep down, that the Peace Corps Path was one I was supposed to be on. The desire to join was deep within me and almost impossible to explain, especially considering how much - and who - I would be leaving behind.
At the time - and to this day still - I considered it the most selfish decision I could make. Joining the Peace Corps! Selfish!?
I was acutely aware, though, that if i didn't take this journey - fueled only by my desire to expand and grow and explore - I would never feel complete. And if I never felt complete, I'd never be able to FULLY give of myself to other people in the way that I wanted. I had to feed my spirit before I could feed my relationships in a positive, full, complete way.
Today, when I speak with new clients and I encourage them to share THEIR deepest dreams and goals, one thing that oftentimes comes up is that fear of being selfish. Of not wanting to put themselves first -- as if listening to their own inner whispers is somehow unacceptable unless everyone else gives them permission.
But consider this.
The sun. It rises and sets every day, focusing only on its inner purpose - to burn and shine and radiate its most pure energy. It doesn't do this because it's trying to make the plants feel better. Or to warm your shoulders. It rises and it shines because it's what it wants to do. What it must to. And because it is fulfilling its highest purpose, we get to bask in its warmth, celebrate its light, and harness that power in infinite ways towards our own fulfillment.
The sun's "selfishness" feeds our higher good.
Consider, then, that that best way to best serve the people around you is to burn as brightly as you can.