We are taught to not be selfish at the very get go of childhood when your parents make you share your favourite toy with another kid. Since then, you are told that putting others before yourself is the best possible way to be. Because you know, the universe tells us to.
I definitely don’t want to downplay the importance of helping others, because it is a very important virtue to include in your everyday life. Helping others results in a domino effect to spreading positivity and happiness throughout humanity.
I consider myself a good person. I’m a people pleaser and will drop almost anything to help out someone in need, especially those that I love and care about. You could say I would even go as far as putting their needs and happiness above my own. But thats the problem, isn’t it? It’s like trying to fill up someone else’s glass of milk when yours is half full.
Maybe always putting others before yourself isn’t always the most credible way to act. We shouldn’t have to feel guilty when we put others aside in order to help ourselves.
I don’t mean this in the you-should-be-an-egotistical-jerk; you should ignore someone instead of opening the door for them; or you should act like a two year old where you cry the moment anything isn’t going your way. But being selfish definitely does not make you a cold-hearted, narcissistic human being.
Being selfless is an admirable trait, but when did it become a reasonable expectation to be completely selfless?
We have this crooked idea that bringing others happiness will bring happiness to ourselves. And sure, giving to others gives you some form of short term joy, but that is failing to enclose the big picture of our overall well-being.
Self-sacrificing and the whole drop-everything-and-help type of scenario is all sweet and dandy until we are compromising too much of our energy towards others and too little into prioritizing our own needs and happiness.
If you’re like me, you may be going through a hurdle of changes in your life. You may be confused at where you are right now, where you are going, or where you are going to end up. You may feel like your foundation in life is a bit shaky. You may not have a plan, and as peobe beufah would say, you may not even have a ‘pla’.
When you are feeling lost, putting yourself in the driver’s seat is especially important. When we fail to do this, we generally begin to see ourselves feeling confused as hell and with an corrupt awareness of who we really are and who we want to become.
If there is anything I’ve learned throughout this transition in my life, is that it is okay to be selfish. And not only is it okay, it is something that you need and should be doing before anything else.
There are countless benefits of taking the time to be selfish.
Being selfish allows you to push through any hurdles you may be having in order to be truly happy. You are not taking your happiness away from someone else when you chose to put yours first. It is generally the complete opposite. When you are happy, your natural disposition will be to share that happiness with others. When they begin to share that happiness with more and more individuals, everyone is contributing to making the world a better place. Sounds pretty dandy, eh?
Being selfish allows you to put your goals and aspirations first, and make them a reality for yourself. Because we all have dreams, and we all have the ability to achieve them as long as we take the time to put our energy towards that. And let’s face it, no one else has the power to put your dreams into practice but yourself. Being selfish allows you to achieve whatever the heck your mind has stirred up for you.
Take time for yourself and only yourself. Self-care and self-reflection are important. No job, toxic relationship, or midterm is more important than taking care of your mental and physical health needs. So, sleep in on a Sunday morning even if you feel lazy. Go for a run to clear your head from any chaos surrounding it. Turn off your phone and recharge —you have no obligation to answer your phone every time it rings.
Make a career move that may move you across the country, even though you may feel obligated to stay in the comforts of your current job. It’s okay to move away from home. Don’t feel like you are abandoning anyone—you have to do what you have to do.
Spend all of your savings on a shiny new car or a ticket across the world. Buy all of the fifteen-dollar avocado toasts your heart desires (I mean, this just goes without saying).
It’s okay to say no if you want to stay in instead of going out to the bar with your friends. You don’t need an excuse. If you don’t want to go, you don’t have to go. I’d take Netflix and chill over overpriced drinks and a-ridiculously-high-uber-bill-that-you-don’t-remember-agreeing-to any day.
You are allowed to cut people out of your life that no longer lift you higher. Just because they have been in your life since you were kids, doesn’t mean you owe them anything. If someone isn’t bringing positive energy into your life, pencil them the heck out.
Be more selfish with your emotions. You are allowed to end a relationship on the sole purpose that you need some “me time”. Sometimes it’s just so damn tiring to care so much, and sometimes people simply do not deserve your emotions. Sometimes you need to end a chapter to start a new one, and there is no reason to feel guilty for it.
One day, you may meet someone you want to spend most of your time with, and taking time to find yourself before this time will allow you to be ready to put someone else first. Taking the time to know what you want out of life and what you deserve will allow you to only allow positive relationships into your life.
If you currently have a significant other in your life, putting yourself first is still as important as ever. Think of it as you and your partner being a team that compliments each other, rather than two people that complete each other. Two strong whole individuals instead of two half’s that make a whole. It is important for you both to be self-aware that your relationship with each other is only going to flourish if the relationship with yourselves is top notch.
But whatever it is you want out of life, you will most likely have to put something else first.
I say this because one day you may not be able to be selfish. If you’re like me, a 20-something human who has little to no responsibilities besides getting myself out of bed in the morning, then this is especially true. You may one day want to get married, maybe even have children of your own. You might want to buy a house, send those said children to college. Or maybe you’ll just want to get a dog or become a crazy cat lady (hey, I ain’t judging).
These years are crucial, so be selfish with the choices you make. Live for you, not anyone else. Try everything possible, and take every positive opportunity handed to you and run with it. Allow yourself to be inspired by the people you meet. Allow yourself to grow and change.
Take the time to prioritize the most important relationship in your life, which is the relationship with yourself. Put yourself at the top of your to-do list every single day, and I promise the rest will fall into place (or at least that’s what I tell myself).
Get drunk on some self-love and just do your thing. If we are spending all of our time and energy looking out for others, who can we count on to look out for us?
Oh right, ourselves.