Recently I’ve been exploring the meaning of the word selfish and today I’d like to share with you what I discovered…
1. Devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc.
It interest’s me that a word perceived to be so immoral is defined by words such as devoted, caring, benefits and welfare, that just also happen to be synonyms for the words committed, loving, assistance and protection. How could something so bad be associated with something so good?
We as humans are programmed to take care of our own needs first. The phrase “survival of the fittest” was coined in 1864. However, as we evolved this natural instinct got a bad reputation and became the source of negative emotions such as guilt. But what is there to feel guilty about taking responsibility for your personal, emotional and physical needs before those around you? Surely the more grounded, content, and agile you are the more able you will be to help others?
Therefore, being selfish is the key to living a healthier, more productive, loving and happier life as these four benefits show:
1. You’ll be healthier. Selfish people tend to take better care of themselves instead of giving too much energy away serving the needs of everyone else.
2. You’ll be more successful. Selfish people tend to be more focused and less likely to give up on their goals and dreams.
3. You’ll have better relationships. Selfish people find it easier to set boundaries. Setting boundaries means knowing where you end and the other person begins. By doing so other people will have a harder time manipulating or taking advantage of you, which often or not results in misunderstandings, arguments and generally messy emotions.
4. You’ll be happier. Selfish people spend their time doing activities they like to do. If you have a well-developed sense of who you are, what you enjoy and the ability to communicate this to others, you’ll be a happier person all round.
But if the word selfish still doesn’t sit right with you consider using self-care or self-help instead, as both also refer to prioritizing your own physical health and psychological well-being by engaging in good habits, exercise, relaxation and enjoyable activities everyday. Think self-focused instead of self-involved. Either way it’s all about honoring the commitments you make to yourself; it’s about taking care of you in all aspects – body, mind, and spirit. Without this attitude you are of no use to anyone – not to yourself and certainly not to others.
So here’s my quick guide to perfecting the art of being selfish in five simple steps:
1. Redefine the word. Being selfish has very negative connotations in today’s society. We’re constantly reminded to look out for the common good and have everyone’s best interests at heart. News Flash: You can still be the best person you can possibly be and be selfish and make others happy.
2. Figure out who you are. Before you can go about acting in your own self interest, you have to figure out just who your self really is. What makes you happy? What makes you tick? Are you the person you want to be right now?
3. Define what’s important to you. You should be selfish on what will make you the best person you can be. If you don’t want to sacrifice your health, job, relationships, or hobbies, think about whether or not they’re that important to you. Are you fulfilled by them? If so, put your foot down. If not, reconsider.
4. Identify obstacles in your path. Another part of perfecting the art of being selfish is identifying what’s stopping you from where you want to be. What’s keeping you from being happy? That stuff needs to be removed, even if it’s at the expense of others. When a person, thing or place isn’t lighting you up from within, ditch it. If you know what would make you happy, you also know what you will regret for the rest of your life. Do things for yourself -not because other people want them.
5. Don’t feel guilty. Numerous studies show that being selfish can actually lead to us feeling happy – so long as we don’t feel guilty about it. And most of the time, we shouldn’t. If we’re only being selfish about what truly matters to us, only being selfish to create our best selves, then there’s nothing to feel guilty about.
Think about what it would mean to you, your life and the people you share that life with if you learned the art of being selfish?