We’ve been taught all our lives that being selfless is a virtue. We need to love, be kind and put other’s needs before our own. That being selfish and self-centered is a bad thing.
But what if… what if, there is a healthy side to “Selfish” and “Self-Centered”?
Disclaimer: In no way am I saying that it’s bad to think, love, help and be kind to others.
It’s been within the last year of my “soul searching” journey, I guess I’ll call it, that I’ve become proud to say that I am selfish and self-centered. For yeeeeears I lived my life for others. I let the guilt of not doing enough, not doing the right things, not making everyone else around me happy consume my whole being that I completely lost myself. I guess you could say that I never really knew myself. I’ve always been this torn, confused version of what I thought everyone else wanted/needed me to be. I was always taught that I needed to love, trust and put everyone else’s needs ahead of mine… Altruism. I felt so lost and broken and thought, “What good am I to anyone else around me if I’m so broken?” I needed to start a change.
What was my first step? Being selfish and self-centered in the healthiest version of the terms.
Being healthy mind, body and soul is beyond important. I had to start focusing and bring it all back to center. I decided that I would let go of anything that didn’t serve me. What is it that I need out of life? I’m not sure I’ve got a straight answer for that question. Not sure that I ever will because life is always changing, my needs are always changing. There were and are things that I needed to start to work on if I was going to start feeling better.
Stop feeling guilty! We all know that guilt. The guilt that’s not real, it’s an illusion of guilt placed on us by others. I spent so long feeling guilty over things that I should have never spent the energy feeling bad over. Sometimes the people directly or indirectly in our lives will try to make us feel guilty about things that have nothing to do with us, feelings we do/don’t have, decisions we’ve made… the list goes on and on. There are some legitimate reasons to feel guilty, but for the majority of the time the guilt isn’t real.
Cutting out negativity was a major undertaking. Negativity is like a cancer, the longer we allow it in our lives the more it grows and spreads to other parts of our lives. Negative people in our lives sadly have more power than the positive ones. I had a lot of people in my life that brought me down and allowed me to continue to stay low and hold myself back. I have had to cut out and distance myself from a lot of people. Honestly, I feel a lot better for it.
How do I make myself happy? We sometimes fall into the trap of depending on other people for our happiness, almost expecting, demanding them to make us happy. We also let other people depend on us for their happiness. Which is a job that both sides will equally and miserably fail at. When we realize that we still aren’t happy, we tend to look outward other than inward. I think we’ve all been somewhat programmed to live that way.
When we do look inward, we tend to be so hard on ourselves to the point of self loathing. Or there are those people who think they never do anything wrong… ever, but those aren’t the “healthy” types of self-centered… they’re more self-absorded. Being able to have an honest self-relfection is important.
I’ve noticed a lot of things changing after adopting this attitude. The outside world is still the same, people, negativity, life is still challenging… But I am starting to see a difference in my world. I feel a bit more free. I feel more secure, confident in who I am and what direction I want to go. I’m listening to myself more. Oddly enough, by being more selfish and self-centered has helped me see things better and be more aware of what the people in my life really need.
Looking out for ourselves takes a lot of pressure off other people and we’re able to have better, happier relationships with the people around us when we don’t have that heavy weight looming over us. We are entitled to our own happiness and we have to be the ones to take action and do it for ourselves. We can’t demand that others give up their lives and happiness just to make us happy. Also, other people can’t demand the same from us. We have to ask ourselves, “If I’m not healthy and happy, how can I do anything for anyone else?” We are our own keeper, we are not our brother’s keeper.
Putting yourself first isn’t a bad thing.