Do you ever remember a time in your early years when you were told that it’s good to be selfish?? Yup, you read correctly, S-E-L-F-I-S-H…!
In fact weren’t we taught that being selfish was BAD..?
“Santa doesn’t come to selfish children..!”
“Selfish kids don’t have any friends..!” And so on..
And so we diligently went about doing our best to be completely SELFLESS..! (Ok, when I say “we” I mean me..)
Now hands up anyone who ever REALLY felt good from being selfless? (righteousness and martyrdom don’t count..!)
“concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own”
That’s the dictionary definition of “selfless”. Interesting right?
When I was younger I was insecure. I craved external validation. I believed that if I put everyone before myself they’d see my worthiness and value me.
This was my norm. My default place. I really believed that at some point there would be payoff. I’d be valued. Loved.
This would happen eventually. Surely?
It didn’t. Ever.
I wish I could say there was a big A-hah moment when I saw the light and kicked selflessness in the nuts, but alas no. It’s been years in the making.
I was a slow learner.
Years of banging my head against that proverbial wall went by before I started wondering if there was a better way..? Surely there was..?
Well, dear people, you can only truly see and understand the benefit of putting your own needs and wishes first once you deal with the other deeply ingrained underlying self-worth issues. In other words, when you can look yourself in the eye and acknowledge your absolute worthiness then you’re well on your way! And wow! That’s hard..!
It’s a process of slowly peeling away the layers of self-doubt, uncertainty and low self-esteem. It’s painful and takes honesty, courage and patience. But Holy Cow! It’s SO worth it..!
Does that mean I’m now a devotee of the selfish way of life?
No, not entirely.
The definition of selfish includes the “lack of consideration” for our fellow beings. That’s not cool. So let’s break the mold and cherry-pick the good bits from “selfish” and “kindness” to create a new version of these two words:
“concerned primarily with one’s own interests whilst still being friendly, generous, and considerate to others”
Here’s my litmus test to differentiate the two:
If you put someone else’s needs and wants before your own to make THEM feel good = selflessness (Baaad..!)
If you put your own needs first whilst considering others and being kind in order for YOU to feel good = Selfishly Kind (GOOD..!)
This may be a new and foreign concept. So just bathe in the good feeling for a while. Marinate in the self-respect and self-love that this invokes.
Putting yourself first is a ginormous step toward becoming the Best Version of Yourself.
After all, you owe it to yourself to be all that you can be.