One of the very first lessons we were ever taught in life was: sharing is good, selfishness is bad.
As children, we were taught to be considerate of our classmates. As teenagers, we were told to give way to our younger siblings. As adults, we need to be constantly unselfish for the benefit of others.
But is selfishness really always a bad thing?
Sometimes, being selfish on occasion can be the best thing for you and your loved ones. When you get what you want, then you are more happily and unselfishly able to give to others. Conversely, haven’t you felt at times that it’s so difficult to give because you are sacrificing too much?
Consider the advantages of being selfish:
You’ll experience more happiness. Studies have shown that some focus on the self ensures productivity, altruism and resiliency. When you are happy with yourself, then you’re more willing and able to help others be happy too.
You’ll enjoy better health. Each of us needs to take care of ourselves. We all need to ensure that we eat properly, get enough sleep, spend time with things we enjoy doing, so that we live healthier lives. When we are healthier, we are better able to care for those around us. We are also likely to live longer.
You’ll enjoy healthier relationships. Exercise selfishness by weeding out toxic relationships and eliminating those that take advantage of, or manipulate, you. Feel free to say no to any relationship that is detrimental to your well-being without feeling guilty that your selfish ways have hurt someone else’s feelings.
You’ll find opportunities for self-development. Spend time, money and effort on personal growth. This way, you are empowered to become the best possible version of yourself, and that will be enjoyed by those around you. Take time away from your pressing obligations and pay some attention to yourself.
You’ll find more meaning in life. Selfishness assures you of a life filled with people, advocacies and things that mean the most to you. You will need to be selfish and withdraw your attention from certain things and people in order to make sure that you are able to focus on and accomplish something significant and great.
You’ll be less needy. If you’re not taking care of your own needs, you’re putting yourself in the position of needing more from others. Being dependent on others results in being dependent on the whims of others.
Of course, our lesson from youth still holds, albeit with some adjustment: too much selfishness is definitely bad. However, you do need to exercise some degree of selfishness in order for you to make the most out of yourself, and in order for you to be of more value to others.
Seek to find the ideal balance between focusing on yourself and focusing on others. Set aside time each day to spend on yourself.
At the end of the day, you’ll find that making yourself happy will make others happy, too.