Selfish or selfless?

I despise wasting time queuing, traffic/driving or procrastinating and this makes me selfish.

However, I sincerely wish everyone peace, health and happiness originating from good mental and physical health.  I look after my own as top priority to practice what I preach and have capacity to do more for others.  Selfish or selfless?

Racing through childhood we may be given an inkling as to how our lives may pan out.  Born to elderly parents I had 2-brothers and 2-sisters with 17-years up to the next youngest.  The eldest sister and brother had already married and fledged.  I became an uncle at 18-months and 9-more times before teens.  I likened infancy to growing up as an only child of 6-parents.  Siblings living at home spoilt me with gifts, soon establishing an expectation that on pay day I was to receive a treat.  On the rare occasion I imagined they had failed me my conduct became something I am proud of.  Angry outbursts and sulking which only now could I relate to possible Intermittent Explosive Disorder type behaviour or perhaps just pure selfish both are defining.

I spot patterns easily especially in events, behaviour, numbers, words and coincidences etc.  This is not a special skill and can be my trigger to instant anxiety.  In my world there must be order; when there is not or expectations are not met a negative reaction could follow.  I spotted this pattern and eventually the resolution during that weekly all-important long solitary run.

One sunrise run on a section of the South West Coast Path pondering a significant problem I got lost in thought and beautiful scenery.  Before I knew it I was miles away; 19 later measured on the map.  Remote, No cash, mobiles did not exist and my family were in a holiday camp that I could not remember the name of.  No option but for an ultra out-and-back.  Returning to a hungry children and angry wife-1, I had reneged on my commitment to do all the cooking.  They knew how much I detested anyone else in the kitchen so dared not enter my domain.  Within couple of years we were acrimoniously divorced the accumulative effect of my selfishness and not a good outcome for anyone.

Battling this trauma was challenging. I had grown up in an old-fashioned family where you got married for life for better or worse.  Yet another thing for which I could be seen as the family failure but somehow was not.  Supportive they all rallied round as I grappled with anxiety and depression resulting in outpatient treatment at a Priory Hospital.   This was my first exposure to CBT and in particular how unhelpful thinking had played its part.  Memories of those childhood clues came flooding back.  This became the foundation of my study into improving health.

Most of my triumphs and adversities stem from how I respond to things; anything, sometimes disproportionately.   Some time ago I was commissioned to instruct on S.U.M.O training for youths in danger of failure.  This introduced me to the Jack Cranfield formula: Event + Responses = Outcome.   My long-runs now will usually have an “in-head” agenda to ponder.  This agenda is to consider responses and is it/has it appropriate or effective.  It is rare not to find solace or solution.  This has been such a powerful tool in changing outcomes I use it all the time; I can even overtake middle-lane drivers without anger J

Due to the major impact it had on me I share the secrets of E+R=O and S.U.M.O widely with the best of intent.  My passion for inspiring positive change has been instinctive and perhaps a destiny.  Any only child can often become lonely and sometimes selfish, I consider my unusual childhood schooling to selflessness.

Next time can you be lonely in a crowd?  Until then I leave you with quote by Edward Albert “Sometimes you have to be selfish to be selfless”.




Trevor Rawson is a self-employed Health Coach enjoying life in Norfolk.  He has lots of bits of paper, awards and accolades.  More importantly he uses his broad range of experience to support people towards improving their mental and physical health by activity and nutrition.  Having used his own methodology to overcome General Anxiety Disorder and Depression he is pleased to share his unique story.



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