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From birth till death we are conditioned to follow protocol. Being a socially appropriate person means that you will use pro-social behavior to include yourself in the world of people and foster healthy relationships with others. Yet sacrificing yourself and your own dreams in order to adhere to the protocol of a system, even when it's a system you are ideologically opposed to, is unhealthy and can constrain us, stifle our dreams and our creativity.
Claiming your life means that you trust yourself enough to know when it is socially appropriate and personally appropriate to stick to a system's protocol, and when it may be time to move on. Claiming your life means that you are not narcissistic, only looking out for own best interests, but neither are you so much of a follower that you will spend your life's energy and time at the mercy of a set of rules and circumstances that feel innately wrong to you.
Whether it's a marriage, a relationship, a job or a city or town that you live in; a club or a sport, a friendship or a hobby - there are parameters we need to create for ourselves about time, energy, money, equality and justice that give us our maturity and our personal boundaries; boundaries which as different for me as they are for you and, while they are different, they still must be respected.
It's intensely empowering to claim your life. It needn't be perceived by you or anyone else as selfish. They common logic is that if you don't take care of yourself you'll not be able to properly care for anyone else and this can be true on a multitude of levels.
As parents, friends, lovers, spouses and workers, we need time to rest, time to recharge our batteries, time to pursue our own dreams and goals. If you are using your life to give away to others at the expense of your own nurturing and this is happening on a continual basis, it may be time to reevaluate your priorities and learn how to balance things. Socially responsible businesses are learning that work/life balance is crucial in attracting and retaining competent workers. People need more than work in their lives. Mothers need more than mothering.