Why it’s okay to be selfish sometimes

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

When you think about goals or what you want to accomplish in life, do you consult every person you run into on the street whether or not that’s a selfish decision? Of course not. Ultimately, you’re going to do what you want to do and you’re going to pursue your dreams.

Humans tend to choose to participate in things and to do things that make them happy, am I right? We want to ensure that we’re living up to our own expectations.

It’s in our nature to desire to see the fruits of our labor. Sure, we may be working on a passion that naturally serves other people, but it would be lacking some satisfaction if our outreach wasn’t greater.

If we consistently had two people coming to our soup kitchen for example, we would be happy that two people were at least being served. But, after a couple of weeks, those two people no longer satisfy the need for growth.

We’ll eventually need to outreach to other communities, advertise, and let people know that the service is here so that our soup kitchen can successfully reach a larger number of people.

Sometimes the satisfaction in just changing one thing for one person isn’t enough. An argument can be made that this would be enough for a while. I’ve heard lots of people state, “well if I write an article and one person is positively affected by it, then it was worth it”.

What we fail to recognize in this example is, what about the people that were offended or didn’t like the article? Are we really writing for other people? Or are we writing for ourselves? Could it be both?

I think we’re all a little selfish, but sometimes we have to be.

I’ll give my personal feelings on this. I like writing for a couple reasons. I like to encourage other people and to build some followers so that my reach can become greater and hopefully I can affect more people in a positive way.

Another reason I like to write is for me. I like to exercise the writing muscle. I like to grow as a person through research and I like to stay current on applicable subjects in today’s society. Both of these things are beneficial. Would you say I’m selfish for wanting to grow in followers? I’d hope not, but maybe it’s the negative feel that the word “selfish” has that makes us so afraid of the label.

I think we’re all a little selfish, but sometimes we have to be. If you’re unhappy in a relationship, I’d always encourage you to try to work it out. If you’ve tried everything and you’re putting your best foot forward but they’re not — leaving the relationship might be the right move. Some might say it’s selfish, but recognizing a toxic relationship and getting out because it’s personally weighing you down is a responsible decision.

If you’re offered a different job in a different city, you might feel the burden of leaving your current job and moving your entire family, but you do it. Why? It’s potentially the best decision for the future of you and your family.

Sure, the kids will be disappointed and maybe won’t understand the move. Your wife or husband might have to move jobs too, but you’re willing to endure that pain because you believe something is going to benefit you in the long run. The same goes for a marriage or a family. You might make decisions that benefit your own marriage or family, and that’s it. That’s okay.

You have to be the best version of yourself in order to live up to your potential on this planet. In order to be the best version of yourself, you have to think about what’s best for you.

What decisions are you making today that improve your skills in an area? How are you healing from past wounds? How do you ensure that you’re taking care of yourself? If you’re constantly exhausting yourself serving other people, you’ll become worn down and you might not be able to further serve people without having a meltdown.

There are definite benefits in looking out for yourself. Don’t be afraid to do it, or you may get a few years down the road and realize your life is not where you want it to be.

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