Mackenzie Hurlbert – General Assignment Reporter –
Being selfish is usually considered a negative characteristic, but students met in the Farnham Programming Room to focus on being just that. Counseling Services sponsored the “Thank You! From You!” workshop on self gratification as part of the Building a Better You series on campus.
Cate Barber, graduate student and intern for Counseling Services with a masters in social work, talked to a group of students about the importance of focusing on and taking care of oneself.
“The topic was really about self-appreciation and around this time of the year people really focus on being grateful for what they have. A lot of the times people don’t stop to appreciate themselves in fear of coming across as selfish,” said Barber, who led the group discussion and activities. “‘Selfish’ has such a negative connotation to it.”
Barber read the definition of selfish to the group in order to show how this negative connotation has affected the meaning of the word. She then suggested a new meaning or a different way to view the term selfish.
“Really, what’s bad about taking care of yourself? And you can turn it around to be ‘self-ish,’ and that can turn into self-care, self-appraisal, without coming across as obnoxious,” said Barber. “So that’s the goal of this program, to teach the participants that you can take care of yourself and it doesn’t have to be a negative thing. Put yourself first.”
Barber talked to the group about different ways to be self-ish in a positive light. She said, “If you’re getting asked for favors, say no when you really can’t do something. Go on a date alone and treat yourself to things.” Barber said there are little things like these which you can do to make sure you’re appreciating and taking care of yourself.
After the discussion, Barber walked the group through a craft project. Each person constructed their own turkey and wrote things they appreciated about themselves on its feathers. Each feather stood for something different. The yellow feather was a physical attribute you liked about yourself; the red was a skill or talent you’re proud of; the pink was an achievement for that day; the purple was something you’ve accomplished that semester; the green was a character trait you’re proud of, and the blue was someone you’re close to and grateful for.
Christina Preville, a first year grad student at Southern, attended the program and thought it was definitely beneficial. “People are so busy doing things for everyone else,” said Preville, who’s studying special education. “Sometimes you need to take a second for yourself.”
Barber was happy with the outcome of the Building a Better You program and looks forward to the rest of the series. “We’ve done programs on stress reduction, anxiety, healthy relationships. It’s really interesting because a lot of the same people keep coming back, which is nice because it’s kind of been like an open informal group that’s formed.”
Preville recommends these Building a Better You workshops for all students. “I think that it’s something that would be really good for all students,” she said, and admitted that some students may avoid the counseling services program because they see “counseling” as a bad thing. “The connotation can be negative but it’s beneficial for a healthy college lifestyle,” she said. She suggests making time to do something for yourself, “Do something you want to do with the people you want to do it with or by yourself.”