Last month I wrote an article about some very difficult changes that I have recently experienced. In typical BP fashion, I’m happy to report that I’ve bounced back quickly and am doing great. I have an amazing, amazing group of friends here in North Carolina, and I’ve been really fortunate to have them by my side for the last few months. I get text messages, Facebook posts, emails, and phone calls on an almost daily basis from friends, new and old, checking in on me. I’ve been so incredibly humbled at how fortunate I am to have such genuine friendships in my life. No words can express my gratitude. These last few months have also provided me with an excellent opportunity to re-focus and center myself and to re-evaluate my goals, both physically and professionally. Sometimes I feel like I’m flying by the seat of my pants: I miss dinner dates with friends, I forget to return phone calls, or I find myself running late for work. It’s unacceptable to me that my life is so busy and hectic that I neglect the very things that keep me afloat: my friends and my career. Before my life fell apart a few months ago, I was spreading myself so thin and was being pulled in so many different directions, that I couldn’t keep things straight. So, it was actually a blessing in disguise that stuff hit the fan when it did, because it freed up so much time for me to really focus on myself, my life, and my most prized possessions. What I’ve come to realize is that it’s ok to be selfish and to make MYSELF a priority. I’m now getting things done ahead of schedule, I have time to play with the dog outside on the weekends, and I have time to spend with new friends. I have met and spent time with some great new people within the last few months, and I would have NEVER had this opportunity several months ago. I’ve started saying “No” more, and it feels damn good. The busier our lives get, the less selfish we become. Our jobs, kids, and daily tasks require all of our attention and we leave no free time for ourselves. We feel an obligation to please others and then we feel incredibly guilty if we start to pull our attention elsewhere. And, no doubt, other people make us feel guilty if they think we’re not giving them the time and attention they deserve. Why is this? Why is it wrong to want to go to the gym in the evening to work on our physical well-being? Shouldn’t we want to be healthy enough to be around our loved ones or to run after our kids? Why is it wrong to want to get a babysitter so you can go out to dinner with your husband? It’s not. And I have a major issue with people who make others feel guilty. Just because you don’t make yourself a priority, that doesn’t give you the freedom to make others feel ashamed for focusing their attention on themselves. Instead of placing blame on someone else for your sub-par outlook on life, turn your attention inward and better YOURSELF before you make someone else’s life hell. Just sayin.’ I’m slowly learning that it’s ok to demand the best for myself, both in my personal relationships and in my career. I need to stop and take the time to ask questions, to communicate effectively with others, and to expect others to do the same. I need to say no when I don’t want to do something, and I need to set time aside for myself each week to get things accomplished around the house. I also need to make my health a priority and free up my schedule to think about my nutrition, my training goals, and new physical passions. I won’t be competing forever, that much I know, so what’s next? Crossfit? Tough Mudder competitions? Rugged Maniac? There are so many things I want to start doing, and I really just need to go out and do things for ME. Be selfish from time to time, folks, because the relationship you have with yourself is far superior to any other relationship you will ever have. Never feel guilty or ashamed for wanting to be your own best friend. Beth is an NPC and OCB figure competitor and has been competing for 3 years. When she’s not rocking the stage in her stiletto heels, she’s either at work as Project Manager at a Pharmaceutical company in Durham, NC or she’s in the gym training clients or teaching spin classes. In her very minimal free time, Beth likes to sleep, eat, play with her dog, and spend time with her friends (who also like to sleep and eat).