Learn To Be Selfish
Is it wrong to be selfish?
At an early age, it is taught to be selfish is wrong. Religions have taught selfishness is a sin and praise acts of selflessness.
One of my earliest memories of childhood is bonding over a toy in the third grade with a girl named Rebecca. This taught me the act to share comes with rewards such as praise or someone’s attention. I also learned when acts of selfishness resulted in chastisement and isolation.
Now looking back, twenty-odd years later, I can see the error and merits of this lesson. Acts of selflessness deserve praise and attention, but sharing is not a reward system. Choosing to place someone else’s needs above your own is a remarkable characteristic. As a mother, I do this daily and seek no praise because of it.
Instead, I ask: are there situations when being selfish is essential?
Sometimes to move forward in situations, we have to be a little selfish. As a mother, a wife, a full-time employee, and student, sometimes, I have to be a bit selfish.
Selfishness is placing your own needs above the needs of others without consideration. I’m not advocating for people to become dragons that hoard themselves from others. Instead, I’m advocating for people to become a little more selfish in regards to self-care.
We need internal motivation that drives and pushes us when the outside world is trying to influence us. People should not be afraid of criticism for paying attention to their wants, needs, and well-being.
Life can sometimes make us feel obligated to participate in things we don’t have the time for. This can result in us overextending ourselves. As a mom with three school-aged children, I am often asked to volunteer or participate in events. Each time, I decline. It is not for lack of consideration but a lack of time. I am placing my own needs (school and internship) above the needs of my child’s school.
I have met several women at my job who have expressed an interest in going back to school. Many of them neglect this idea because they’re placing their family’s needs above theirs.
Wives and mothers share a trait of selflessness. It’s in our collective DNA. I am learning to be a little selfish. I will always place my children and husband’s needs above my own, but I’m not going to neglect my individual needs in the process.
Embracing a little selfishness will not make you a bad person. In fact, it may make you happier. Knowing when to say no to obligations will free you up to do the things you’ve been putting off. Starting a new career, going back to school, whatever it is it. This article isn’t an endorsement to toss responsibilities and run away to become the next Beyonce. This is an endorsement to living your best life and learning; sometimes it’s okay to be selfish.