Why selfishness isn’t always a bad thing

opinion

IMG_8256 2.jpg

 

Taking care of your own social, psychological and emotional well being doesn’t exactly sound like an inconsiderate and indulgent way of living, so why do we feel so guilty about it?

The connotations of selfishness are generally negative, labelling people as thoughtless, egotistical and self-obsessed. While these implicit overtones are often completely accurate, acts of self care convey the positive associations of ‘selfishness’.

Our anxieties over not being a Mother Teresa clone in every aspect of our work/school/social life can leave us feeling flat and incompetent in our role as ‘do-gooder’ humans.

Yet it’s a little personal healing and self focus that could actually lead to us feeling more content and happy, which as research psychologist Post 1 shows, leads to us being more altruistic human beings.

Here’s a list of must do ‘selfish’ acts to make you a happier and therefore more giving human being.

 

Let go of negative relationships:

Not staying in contact with one-sided friendships doesn’t make you a bad person, we all deserve to feel equally valued and validated in any relationship.While it’s great that you always make the effort to plan a catch up or allow your friend to uninterruptedly rant to you, this needs to be tempered by an equilibrium.

It’s exhausting to be the only one to putting in effort, and while I occasionally condone (neigh, advocate) a good old barriers down tirade (re:existence) its far too draining to constantly be on the receiving end.  Friends are supposed to care about YOU and make time for YOU, so  you need to stop feeling bad  for not completely destroying your schedule to fit in a coffee date that only leaves you feeling empty.

 

Face your problems:

Often,  via a ‘selfless’ immersion into another’s issues you manage to create a diversion, or a way to avoid facing your own hang-ups. While helping a struggling friend is undoubtably noble, ensure you aren’t using it as a substitute for approaching your own problems.

Sometimes helping others ‘fix’ their problems can  provide you with a sense of control that may be absent within your own life, be careful as this is often a false sense of security and leave you tired and unfulfilled. It becomes increasingly less fun watching as other people conflicts are resolved while yours remain open and messy.

 

Accept help from other people

Often a big component of being ‘selfless’ involves helping other people while refusing to ‘burden’ anyone else with anything. It’s taken me 20 years to realise that it doesn’t mean you’re a failure if you need assistance; despite the fact that I have handed out this advice to every single friend that even comes near my friend-cinity.

Whether its talking about your emotional wellbeing, asking for career advice, or just needing a different perspective, it’s ok to ask for things.

 

 Stop worrying so much about other people 

*Time to insert a cliche* Do what makes you happy, even if its not what your family or the people who surround you expect of you.

The amount of times overthinking peoples hypothetical reactions has stopped me from doing things borders on ridiculous (when the list includes not only your mum & dad but also Bruce  who lives up the street you’re too far gone).

Obviously, you don’t want to be insensitive and should always remain aware of other people, but it’s important to remember that it’s not their life and it’s just plain wrong of them to restrict you from enjoying your existence.

Its also unfair on yourself to let opportunities pass you by because you don’t want to tread on anyones toes, this world is fierce, you need to be too.

 

And just remember it’s okay – in fact it’s productive and healthy- to engage in self validation and  act in your own interest. Investing in self care makes your world, and the contributions you can offer within it, increasingly positive and satisfying.

 

On that note… how do you feel about nudesTo sext, or not to sext?

 

1)   Post, S.G. Int. J. Behav. Med. (2005) 12: 66. doi:10.1207/s15327558ijbm1202_4 

7 thoughts on “Why selfishness isn’t always a bad thing

  1. Lovely post! It’s unfortunate that there’s such a stigma around practicing self-love, because it’s not a selfish or bad thing to take care of yourself. Rock on! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Like

    1. Thanks for stopping by Natalie!

      That’s exactly right, self-care and love are the most important exercises to promote happiness and yet too many people are scared of them. I think recent years have seen the rise of the self-care movement but it definitely needs more momentum.

      Take care and love yourself x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. AMEN to this article. I still believe that the most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one you have with yourself, so why would that not be worth investing in, am I right? I think in this case a little bit of selfish goes a long way. Your last point is something I’m still constantly working on, but I feel like I’m getting there. When I do the work will have been worth it.

    Loved this article, and I’d really like to feature it on our platform, Creators.co. I’ve been looking for pieces like the once you’ve written and I think our ever-growing community would love it too. Would you be interested in becoming a Creator? I’d love to hear from you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! I think self-love is a journey to undo the societal culture that teach us to only approach ourselves with criticism.

      Did you want to message me a little more about the opportunity? Always open to new ventures.

      Lara x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Lars, Definitely! It has become a social construct that really needs to change. I’d love to send you some more information. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail or to share your contact details with me.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s