I felt bullied by the self-care movement.  The message women get from childhood is that we aren’t “good” unless we nurture others, therefore, self-care = bad.  For those of us from homes where there is substance abuse or dysfunction, the message is a bit more terrifying: to take care of yourself instead of others in this family is to commit treason.  And I was the most loyal lil soldier you ever met, so I killed self-care to save my family. 

Then, society got cute and decided to troll me with a new message:  if you’re a woman and you don’t do self-care, you’re bad. 

It was like being taught your whole life that berries are poisonous and the first thing my therapist wanted to do was offer me a bowl of self-care berries.  By then, I changed my allegiance to breaking a toxic family cycle instead of serving it, so I was determined to eat whatever berries were being given to me by safe people.  But, self-care felt like more drudgery and I was pretty sure it wasn’t supposed to feel like that, so I began searching for a solution.

Enter the “First-Class Life.”  The amazing thing about a dysfunctional family is that there is a lot of self-hate, but even more ego.  And the thing that the ego LOVES the most is someone recognizing its superiority and giving it the VIP treatment it deserves.

I found a brilliant loophole to circumvent the cognitive dissonance of attempting self-care with a brain programmed for self-negation. I began to treat my entire life like I was constantly the recipient of a first-class upgrade.  And amazingly, it worked!! I didn’t experience any resistance and if anything, my ego wanted more VIP treatment!! The ego didn’t realize that I was actually taking better care of myself than ever because it was focused on how fancy it was.

People mistakenly think that you need to have money to live a First Class Life, but you don’t (although, I will say here and now that you are owed a lot of back self-care taxes and that any extra money you have should be spent on first-class living).  Living a First-Class life is more about the Quest than the Coin.  For instance, to upgrade a reading experience, go sit in your favorite spot in the house while you read or go outside.  Only wear the cutest clothes that you already own.  Take time to make the breakfast you really want rather than have cereal again.  Instead of spending a set amount on disposable fashion, buy a coveted luxury item.  Playing with time is another way to get up-graded to a First-Class Life by just giving yourself more of it.

My favorite thing about the First-Class Life is that it uses dysfunction in the service of psychological health and happiness and I honestly can’t think of anything more magical than that.  

Attention: could the person reading this come up to the ticket counter please?  Hello there, thank you again for flying Advanced Personal Growth Airlines.  I just wanted you to inform you that YOU have received an upgrade to First Class…….for the rest of your life.  Enjoy your flight.

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