Some theorists say being selfish is necessary in order to give back to others. We need to take care of ourselves, love ourselves, and nurture ourselves. Others, including your parents and most religions tell you that being selfish is bad and you need to put the needs of others before our own.
This is all so confusing. Is it good to be selfish or not?
When we first think of selfishness we think of others putting their needs first at the expense of someone else. This kind of selfishness incorporates greed, lack of caring, and seeking personal gratification so that others don’t feel the same gratification.
The bad kind of selfishness is when you take advantage of people in order for you to profit some kind of gain. It can start with negative emotions such as hate, envy, arrogance and can lead to fights and on a bigger scale, wars.
This is not the selfish you want to be. You want to be the good kind of selfishness, with the virtue that allows you to be good to others because you were first able to be good to yourself.
Do you always find yourself saying “Yes” to things you don’t want to do? You do this because you don’t want to feel guilty or selfish (the bad kind). But can you really help them if you are not operating at your highest potential? It’s time to start gaining the skills you need to turn down requests for projects you don’t want to do. Being selfish (the good kind) can totally help with this.
Developing compassion, esteem, love, care, worth, management and respect for yourself can help you reach this goal.
Developing and refining your compassion skills so you can fully relate to others is a great reason to be selfish. Compassion is the feeling you get when you want to help someone who is suffering. You see the person standing on the side of the road holding a sign asking for help. You automatically think if you had a bunch of money you would help them out.
Guess what, you are suffering too. Your inner self is holding up a huge sign that says “Help Needed: I’m tired, depressed, hungry, and emotionally drained”. It is important that you pay attention to your own signs. If you ignore those inner signs when you first start hearing them, they will become louder and present themselves in a negative way, like through panic attacks or ulcers.
Developing self-compassion can give you the desire to fix whatever is ailing within you.
You are at work, you have a great idea that you know will save the company big dollars. You have your chance to offer your idea at the monthly meeting. You don’t do it. At the last minute your inner thoughts turned against you and you believed every negative thing they told you. Your self-esteem was too low.
Improving your self-esteem is another big reason you should be selfish. Self-esteem means having confidence in your abilities. This will lead to feeling like you are worthy of a happy life. No matter how many people tell you that you won’t become successful or put you down in some other way, you can still have high self-esteem. It comes from within you. You can train yourself to ignore the negatives.
Don’t get this confused with cockiness, which has a strong element of arrogance and entitlement associated with it. Most arrogant people don’t have that much self-esteem, believe it or not. But they do, they hide their insecurities behind their cockiness.
Having a good level of self-esteem allows you to take more risks, be more ambitious, and cope with loss or rejection. People with high self-esteem are generally happier.
No, this doesn’t mean you fall in love with yourself and marry yourself or anything like that. That’s just weird.
Self-Love is caring enough about yourself to want to take care of all your needs. If you don’t have self-love, nothing else will matter when trying to be selfish in a good way. Means you know you are valuable and you recognize that if you were not here, other people would be affected in some way.
Having self-love can almost seem spiritual and deepen your spiritual relationships. Start loving yourself by first stopping all negative thinking. Anytime a negative thought enters your mind be aware and make a conscious choice to change it into a positive thought. Praise yourself, support yourself and forgive yourself are also great ways show love to yourself. Finally, have fun. Your life is meant to be enjoyed.
Self-Care is shown through things you do to keep yourself healthy by making improvements and maintaining a good balance. You are nurturing yourself so that you feel well or being able to rebound quickly when you don’t feel well. It is here you give yourself proper tools to enhance your overall self both inside and out.
Hygiene is a great area to start. Your personal hygiene not only shows you how much you care about you, but it also shows the world how much you care about you. If you only bathe twice a week you may have an odor on the days you don’t bathe. People who have to sit next to you many not appreciate your natural aroma. It shows them you don’t care enough about yourself to do even the basics of cleaning your own body. Good hygiene is just one way you can nurture yourself.
There are many other ways to nurture yourself like journaling, getting a massage, reading self-improvement materials, attending counseling, and taking a yoga class at least once a week. As you can imagine, there are hundreds of great ideas on how to care for yourself.
You have to figure out which activities make you feel the best about yourself. Don’t take a yoga class if you are stiff as a board. Or at least don’t take the advanced class. Don’t go on a hike if you have a broken foot. Pick activities that you actually enjoy, that you choose (not your friends or family), that make you feel good.
Another good reason to be selfish is to gain self-worth. You are not putting a price value on yourself but a life value. Your life is priceless and you need to feel that.
Self-Worth tells you how you feel about you, not about what things you have done. It has to do with the value you place on yourself and whether or not you feel you deserve good things. If you feel you are bad and deserve bad things, then you have a low self-worth.
If you base your worth on what you do rather than who you are then you will be in for a long ride filled with stress and anxiety. This is where the Jones family comes to visit. You know the ones you are always trying to keep up with, who really don’t have any worth themselves. Yes, that Jones family.
Get a higher self-worth so you can enjoy the life you have, not the life you think you need. Self-worth is closely connected with thoughts so the goal should be to replace any negative thoughts about yourself with positive ones.
Being dependent on others is necessary in some rare cases. However, being dependent on others when you are perfectly capable of taking care of all of your own needs is just wrong. The feeling self-management can give you is priceless.
Self-management means you take care of all your health needs yourself. This doesn’t mean you quit going to the doctor and stop taking your medicines. It does mean that if you need a ride to the doctor you obtain that ride yourself instead of asking a friend to do it for you. It means making sure you take all of your medications as prescribed.
As a good manager, you work with others who can help you; you just don’t depend on them for all of your health needs. Managing your self gives you a sense of responsibility because you are holding yourself accountable. This gives you pride and a feeling of reward, both of which are healthy for you.
Maybe you have heard the phrase, “You teach people how to treat you.” Dr. Phil is famous for saying this. It basically means if you don’t respect yourself then no one else will. Don’t get mad at your brother for calling you a slob if that is how you present yourself and your surroundings. An example may be just lying around being lazy, food stains on your clothes, not brushing your hair, and not cleaning your house. Now if you are one who takes great care of yourself and your surroundings, then your brother has no right to call you a slob.
Self-respect revolves around how you feel about the choices you make. When you make the right choices you feel proud of yourself. Piling up a bunch of right decisions in your corner can increase the amount of respect you have for yourself.
Self-respect means a lot of different things. Mainly, you are honest with yourself, have good manners, are responsible in areas of work and money, have positive goals for your life, choose positive friendships, and are able to say you are sorry when you mess up.
How to Get More Selfish
Do most of these reasons to be selfish overlap one another? Yes. They are all connected to your inner self and in order to have one of them you need to have the other. Gaining self-esteem can lead to more self-respect, which can lead to an increased amount of self-love. The main thing to remember is to take care of you, make yourself a priority, and do so on a continual basis.
Taking care of yourself opens up a ton of opportunities for you. You get to treat yourself to new experiences that are geared specifically to help you be a better person. This is the fun part so make sure you enjoy everything you do to improve your inner self.
Focus on activities that calm you down and are helpful for you not harmful. Make yourself more social rather than isolating. Set a goal to meet one new person a week. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, further your education are a few activities you can try. All of these, over time, increase the “self” skills. You can practice becoming your best self by using these exercises as a guide.
For example, participating in learning and development activities increases your knowledge which gives you more confidence, which gives you self-esteem and self-respect. You learn self-management and self-care skills during the class and build your level of self-respect based on the decisions you have to make. Just this one activity of taking a class can offer your inner self a great deal of positive.
Get emotionally healthy and learn to cope with life’s ups and downs. When you are emotionally happy, nothing can stop you. Reflect on your needs. Reflect on what you will do when you have reached the point of loving yourself fully.
Compare this to winning the lottery. You think to yourself, “If I won the lottery, I could give a lot more.” You would take my family on a vacation, pay of all the debts my friends have, donate to charity, go back to college, and feed the hungry.
By taking this time to be selfish, it is like you are hitting the lottery of good mental health. As the self-enhancing traits accumulate (money) then the more you can do for others (giving). You will be able to listen better to your family members who are having troubles. You can decide to take a road trip with your besties. You can choose to say “No” without feeling guilty.
You are about to embark on a journey of getting to know YOU. You are about to become your favorite person. You are about to be the rock star you always knew you were. Have fun!