The Positive side of Being Selfish

Sel•fish / (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.

The word selfish is mostly associated with a negative definition (see above). But why is being selfish so negative? Why do we tell people that picking themselves is bad for them to do? Being selfless is great but in my opinion being selfish at the right time for you is more admirable. 

During my time in group therapy, one of the therapists asked “What are some ways we NEED to be selfish?” A few answers included: when it comes to getting sleep, when personal time is involved and when it comes to our health. The therapist went on to ask “If you are sleeping for work and a friend calls you and ask for a ride because they are too drunk, how many would go get your friend?” We all looked around and raised our hands. Every single hand was up. We were then asked “if you’re friend called the next night drunk and needed a ride, how many of you would go get them?” Everyone raised their hand but me. 

I love my friends and would DO anything for them. However if I stressed the importance of me getting sleep and I’m always getting called it seems like I’m being forced to be selfless because who would just leave their friend out? Most of the group was shocked that I said I would not get my friend. My response was “I would call an Uber, Lyft, or taxi and make sure they got home safely but if I have to be at work at 6am and I’m picking you up at 2am, I’m going to be the one upset and grouchy in the morning.” 

It is okay to be selfish. Most people feel like because their friends and family ask them for favors they have to make time for it. If you have your day planned and someone asks you to do something for them, you may find yourself having done none or very little of what you actually want to do. Your mind tells you that you’re being selfless by helping them but in reality this was your only day to do all of these things. 

Have an even balance of how selfish and selfless you are. You always have a choice. It is okay to say no. Being a bit selfish will not hurt any of your family and friends, especially if they love you. The only thing THEY are going to do is call someone ELSE and ask them to do the favor. The main reason to be selfish and put yourself first:

  • You can’t give it away if you don’t have it. 

    - Make sure you give to yourself first and you’ll have much more to give to others. If you are exhausting all your time to others you will never have time for yourself. Do not let anyone guilt trip you for not doing what they want you to do when they want it.

What are some other moments where we need to be selfish? Do you have an even balance of being selfless and selfish in your life?

Mental Matters because YOU matter…