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August 19, 2022

Be More Selfish

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Alright you read the title... Don’t rule out this concept and give me the time to explain! We’ve been conditioned to believe that being selfish is a bad thing. We’re taught that being selfish means you only care about yourself, that you don’t consider others, and that you don’t have anyone’s interests in mind other than your own. I agree that living that way is a bad thing, but that is not the only outcome of being selfish. I want to introduce you to some alternative ways of thinking.

First, let’s think about selfishness through the lens of its more acceptable counterpart - Selflessness. Selflessness is about being of service to others and truly caring about improving the quality of other people’s lives. Well, aren’t you a person? Is it possible that you can be of service to yourself? For some reason we don’t think that counts as being of service, but you deserve to be taken care of and happy just like anyone else. And you have a lot to do with making that your reality.

Continuing on this thread, at times you need to be more selfish to be selfless. You’ve heard of the expressions “You have to fill up your own cup before you can fill up someone else’s”, and “Put your oxygen mask on before assisting someone else with theirs.” What do those mean? Your capacity to be of service requires that you invest in yourself so that you have more to give.

So with that in mind, don’t rule out opportunities to be selfish. Enforce your own boundaries to protect your needs. Take someone up on that favor they off-handedly mentioned. Take the last bite of food off the plate. Be more selfish in these moments and don’t feel bad about it. 

You know why? 

Because you know the bigger picture. You know your intentions are to give more than you get. You know how much you do to help others. These small moments of selfishness are in support of your larger mission to be selfless, and your ability to do so requires that you invest in yourself and get your needs met.

Now don’t take this out of context and give yourself a hall pass to be selfish whenever you want, but hopefully this shifts your perspective a bit about how to make sure you’re taking care of yourself in service of others.

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