Is it ok to be selfish sometimes? When you google the word selfish, it is defined as “lacking consideration for others; concerned with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.” We have grown up learning that it is a bad thing to be selfish, that it is definitely not the most admirable trait in a person. But recent events in my life made me introspect as to what exactly being selfish entails. This word has negative connotations, but in reality, its not always a bad thing to look out for the best. If you are like me, you probably have the helping gene. You may often find yourselves giving rides or freebies to people you barely know, rides that take you out of your way. Or you may find yourself skipping lunch to be a sounding board for absolutely everything that goes wrong in someone’s life. When my original birthday plans fell through and my friends asked how else would I like to celebrate it, my stock answer was “what would you all enjoy?” I struggle to cope with selfish people or selfishness in general. The concept of being totally selfless is just that- a concept. Its not even a reasonable expectation when you really think about it. The word can be so quickly redefined that you no longer cringe when you consider it.
I have realized recently that it is ok to be selfish occasionally. I’ve let go of the guilt of saying no to people (which gets much easier to do when you realise how huge the benefits are). We live in a society where we are always expected to say “yes” and pack our schedules so full we have absolutely no wiggle room to be spontaneous. I have known myself well enough to know that I would rather be unhappy in a situation than make others unhappy. I dread when someone is upset or mad at me. But eventually you reach a point in life when you realize that you simply cannot please everyone. And it is even more impossible to take care of others when you do not have the energy to take care of yourselves. I am in no way downplaying the importance of being there for our friends and family when things are going badly for them. Just don’t let people get in the way of you hitting your goals. Because they are important and so is your health. Sure, life happens. Your mum is sick and needs you to take care of the house, your friend has been through a horrible fight and needs you by her side, but in the midst of all this hustle, it is imperative that we take time out for ourselves. If we are not going to take care of our own health then who else is? And the realization, that for the sake of your own sanity and health, it is absolutely alright to be selfish, can do wonders to your life.
Be kind, but don’t be a doormat. Be agreeable, but don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Celebrate your successes, whether you have accomplished a goal or done a task well, take time out to be proud of yourself. Accept help from others, you cannot simply run the world on your own. And most important of all, stay fit and healthy.
What have you done to be selfish recently? Share your thoughts.