David’s WOD*: Why Being Selfish Is Sometimes Necessary
While putting others first is admirable, always putting yourself last isn’t very healthy.
Growing up, the best of us learn from our parents and the adults in our lives to focus on never being selfish. Never put the ‘self’ before others. In that sense, we are almost encouraged to be selfless. To do everything with others’ thoughts and feelings in mind, and not worry about ourselves. While it is true selflessness is needed for a truly ego free life, at what point do we realize WE are miserable? That we maybe deserve to do something for ourselves here and there or deserve to be a little selfish? Keep in mind, doing a little something for yourself here and there is not selfish. It becomes selfish when it is ALL you do. But if you forget to ever do it, it is abusive. Abusive to one’s self.
The act of being selfless is difficult. It means in every decision we make, even the flash decisions, we do not factor ourselves into it. While they say the most enlightened of souls on this planet live this way, how can one find happiness in never doing anything for one’s self? One can be selfless and still stop and step away from that now and again (at least long enough) to reward the self. This can mean something as simple as stopping and indulging in some ice cream, to something as elaborate as sending yourself on a vacation. But keep in mind, neither of those things are actually selfish, unless other people are made to sacrifice or suffer as a result.
The problem is, much like love, the world selfish gets tossed around a little too freely in our society. I firmly believe we all learned a not-completely-accurate definition of the word. Again, like stated prior, it is only selfish if what you are doing takes away from someone else or makes their quality of life worse. For you to stop and treat yourself to an ice cream is not selfish in the least bit. It would be selfish if you were to do that and had starving kids at home. Does that make more sense?
So this article is not actually about being selfish, in so much as it is about unlearning to be cruel to yourself and stop putting yourself last all the time.
So What Makes You Happy?
So now I can get to the best part: the meat and potatoes of this piece. When was the last time you did something that made you happy? I mean, blissfully happy? When was the last time you went way out of the way for yourself and not someone else? If you stop to think about it (and are a good person), it has probably been a while. Don’t worry, you are not weird or strange. We are just from a generation who does not know exactly what the word selfish means. We have learned to put everyone so much in front of ourselves, WE cease to exist. So ask yourself, what would make you happy, and what will it take for you to do that for yourself, right now?
Share That Joy
Here is another way to reward yourself without being selfish. Remember how I asked you what made you happy? Well now, what about sharing that with the list of people who you have put before yourself for so long? In simpler terms, you love ice cream and never have any. Stop and get yourself some, and grab some for someone you love, too. Share that joy and compound it instead of denying it. Because the problem is, when we always forget what makes us happy, we risk completely losing sight of that. And no matter what you were taught to the opposite growing up, not doing anything at all for yourself is just as bad (if not worse) than being selfish.
That is self-abuse.
You Deserve Happiness Too
So while putting others first may say a lot about you, remember, you exist too, and have just as much a right to feel happy as anyone and everyone around you. That is not selfish. This is loving the self, which many of us have forgotten how to do over the years.
Now, let’s go enjoy that ice cream!
*”Word-out Of The Day” by Pazoo Founder & CEO David Cunic