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March 7, 2023

It’s Not Selfish To Put Yourself First

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For our entire lives we’ve been told that it’s a bad thing to be selfish. That it’s bad to be self-centered, to lack consideration for others, and to only care about your own profits, pleasure, comfort, and well-being.

Overall that thought might be true, but there are extra layers to it that I think are a bit misunderstood. Many people overgeneralize the sentiment of being selfish and therefore don't take good enough care of themselves out of fear that doing so would make them selfish.

The first thing to clear up in the definition: It does not mean that it’s not okay to put yourself first. In other words, you should prioritize your own well-being. It’s that maxim of ‘filling up your own cup before filling up someone else’s’. Your capacity to give to others is limited by your personal capacity.

With that in mind, here’s a tangible perspective shift. A lot of people have the desire to help others. They want to change lives. With that intention, why doesn’t your life count? Is it not impactful to change your life, is that not a meaningful life made better from your actions? When you consider that you are a person just like those you hope to help, you see that you’re just as worthy of your time, attention, and care as someone else may be.

Do you know what is selfish? Humble The Poet has an interesting thought on this. He says it’s “expecting other people to put you first”. When you make demands of others or feel entitled to something from someone else, that’s selfish. Their priority is to prioritize themselves just as your should be to prioritize yourself.

So with that in mind, let me ask you a question. Feelings of being selfish aside, what is one thing that you so readily are giving away but you’re in need of yourself? Yes, the fastest way to get anything in life is to give it away, but that requires that you’re open to receiving it.

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