Is It Selfish To Be Who You Were Born To Be?

November 28th, 2011 by Jennifer Grainger


By the time we were seven or so, most of us had bought into the “good girl” programming. Since our very survival depended on pleasing our caregivers . . . really . . . it was the most intelligent thing to do at the time!

And how did we know which behaviors were the “good girl” ones? Easy . . . the big people in our lives smiled and hugged us when we performed to their standard, and scowled, or shouted, or said things like “shame on you” to squelch behaviors they didn’t like.


Without being aware of it, most of us have an incredibly strong desire to avoid the psychological and emotional pain of shame. We don’t consciously think to ourselves “I am not going to do such-and-such because I don’t want to feel deep despair at the core of my being.” We instinctively, and unconsciously, resist our heart’s desires and soul’s impulses, by labeling these desires and impulses as selfish, just as we were taught to do!

We were told that nobody would like us if we were selfish. Or we wouldn’t go to heaven. Or we’d be punished. Or whatever . . . so we did our best to fit in and do life right.

End of story . . .

Sort of . . .

For awhile . . .

Until eventually the fairy tale life we were told would be our reward for being good, started getting ragged around the edges, and we noticed happily-ever-after just isn’t happening, no matter how hard we try to make it come true.

Then what do we do?

We blame ourselves!


So here is the dilemma . . . in order to carve away what is not working in your life so that you can soulfully re-shape what remains into the life your heart and soul are yearning for, you will have to face the fear of being seen as selfish, and neutralize the energy of shame.

It is not that hard to do when you are . . .

. . . curious about discovering your passion
. . . committed to shedding the burdensome “good girl” cloak
. . . willing to pay attention to what you like and don’t like
. . . claiming the right to get expert support in uncovering and trusting your inner compass of joy
. . . willing to do what it takes to make a place in your life for YOU to bloom and blossom

Ironically, in most cases, the person who will give you the most grief about following your heart is . . . YOU! Once you “get it” that your heart is your “inner compass of joy” that is always pointing in the direction of having a soul-satisfying life, you can quickly transform the fear of being selfish into the excitement of discovering your passion.

“Rewarding” doesn’t begin to describe the deliciousness you feel when you spend your days in alignment with who you were born to be, doing what it is that you came here to do! Believe me, the people around you will bask in your radiance, feeling your joy and love when you are living your life from the inside out!


Neutralizing shame is a bit trickier than facing fear, because the programming of what is shameful is hidden outside of our conscious awareness where it runs our lives without our knowing it.

Two of my mentors, Katherine Woodward Thomas and Clair Zammit nailed it when they said “you can’t grow yourself, by yourself.” We all have blind spots that keep us from seeing the obstacles to having a life that works. That’s why every good coach, has a coach!

With me as your coach, I’ll be asking you inspired questions that will reveal your blind spots that were installed when you were a child, at a time when you had very little power.

Once you see what is holding you back, you are free, as a grown woman, to make conscious choices about what truths you will live by.

BOTTOM LINE: It takes courage to be who you were born to be. Having a trusted advisor with you on the journey makes all the difference. The reward for stepping into your greatness is a solid connection to that “peace that passes all understanding.”

TIP: Saying “yes” to yourself is a first step in becoming yourself. Ask yourself “What is one action I can take today that will move me in the direction of saying ‘yes’ to a heart yearning or a soul call?” It doesn’t have to be a giant leap forward. Each small baby step leads to the next, and the next, and the next. Each step taken reveals the next step to take.

P.S. You’ve heard it before, and I am here to tell you it is oh, so true . . . the joy and the juice of life is in the journey, not the destination. Living each moment in alignment with your heart and soul, in equal partnership with your rational mind, is a reliable formula for a life worth living!

P.P.S. A life of dull discontent, albeit often filled with the toys and glitter of things, is often the fate of those who choose to not answer the call of their heart and soul.

So, where are you in discarding the selfish label and neutralizing the shame energy? How strong is the unexplored desire to be a “good person” driving you to live your life in pleasing others instead of answering the call of your heart and soul?  Enter your comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

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