Photo courtesy of Randy Willis PhotosThroughout my life, whenever I was told I was being selfish, I immediately felt shameful and tried to amend my behavior accordingly. What I didn’t realize until very recently is that selfishness can be used for good, and trying to beat all sense of selfishness out of someone could be detrimental to their future happiness.
I have fought against a lot of my natural instincts throughout my life because of societal expectations. I tried to refrain from saying exactly what was on my mind when I was told that I was too bold. For many years, I tried to keep my dry, sardonic humor at bay, feeling that I may be more accepted by others if I portrayed my role as “female” in a more socially acceptable manner. And, even though I had an inner desire to stop making so many sacrifices for other people so that I could further my own goals, I continued to follow the herd.
Perhaps many people have a misunderstanding of what it is to be selfish. Selfishness does not suggest that we think only of ourselves with no regard to others. To do so would be egomaniacal and self-absorbed. I have no desire to hurt other people, and I get a great deal of satisfaction out of helping others. The difference between Present Me and Past Me is that now I tend to help myself first.
Naturally there are exceptions to this rule, as I am a wife, daughter, and mother to 2 children, and if they are in need, I push the hold button on my own needs indefinitely.
Finding out what makes you fulfilled and happy and then moving forward with your happiness as your priorty, is the kind of selfishness that makes the world go round. Forge ahead toward your goals, remaining steadfast until you realize them. Reach for success and don’t waver when people try to get in your way. Many people who have achieved success did so because they were selfish enough to care about what would make them happy and then they persevered until they reached their goals!
The weirdest thing happens when you begin to embrace selfishness. Once you are able to stop sacrificing your own happiness, you will finally reach a genuine Place of Yes, where you can help others because you want to, not because you’re expected to.
Happiness isn’t going to fall on your lap, or magically appear one day because you’ve helped so many other people. If you want to experience true happiness, make yourself a priority and go out there and get it.
After all, “Nothing resembles selfishness more closely than self-respect.”