Why being “selfish” is sometimes the best thing you can do.
Is that the case with you?
The consequence of this behaviour is that at the end of the day you’re depleted and just fall in bed because you’re so tired.
But you still think that it would be selfish if you would take (more) time for yourself.
Do you remember advice like this? Maybe your parents installed these beliefs in yourself:
“Don’t be so selfish!”
“Don’t have a big ego!“
You know, that may be good advice – for selfish people! For people with big egos!
But there are a lot of people out there – maybe you? – where the opposite thing would be good.
I often find that you have to look for the background of the person that gives the advice. Maybe they had problems with a big ego for themselves, and the best thing for them was to get more humble. For them the natural thing is to also give this advice of being humble to all other people.
The sad fact is that people with the tendency to give, give, give also think they should have no ego and be even more humble. And more unimportant.
I find that especially women have this tendency.
In the spiritual world there is this tendency to reduce your ego. I think that’s often the wrong approach which could have wrong side effects.
It’s good to have a healthy ego, not to have no ego. That means to have good self-esteem and feel comfortable with yourself.
It means to be nice and friendly to other people, but to also have the ability to say no sometimes – if it’s warranted.
It means having a healthy balance of giving and taking.
It definitely doesn’t mean to invite other people to treat you like a doormat.
I hope you can see that I’m not talking about the really selfish/egocentric people here. They have an unhealthy ego, they react negatively, think that they don’t get enough.
Did you know this fact? The more you nurture yourself, the more you can give to other people.
It’s like a fountain – if you fill it with nothing and you still give, there will be the time where there is nothing left. But if you fill it with care of the self, it overflows and you have enough to give to other people.
Maybe you think you don’t have much time, but that’s often just an excuse, because you can have time. You can also grab 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there during your day.
“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.”
― Lao Tzu
Here are some things you can do:
Focus on being gentle with yourself. It’s not about how long it takes, but it’s about the fact that you do something for yourself.
“For my 10 minutes a day, I like to light up my candles, sip on some tea, lay back and read a good book. 10 minutes is a long time when you enjoy every minute.” –Anny R.
Always remember: you are important. 🙂
Do you sometimes think you are selfish? Do other people tell you that you’re selfish?
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I love it Peter. Great insight and very important that many women get this through their heads. You cannot have anything to give anyone else until you learn how to give to yourself. Finding a balance between too little and too much ego is a challenge, but it can be done… and it needs to be more balanced with most people.
Thank you, Philippa.
Yes, it’s all about balance. It’s about balance of giving and receiving, and almost the whole life can be about balance – or finding balance! 🙂
I openly admit telling everyone Peter that I’m extremely selfish. I know that some people would be surprised by that.
To me being selfish means taking care of yourself first. Now I don’t have a family that I have to worry about before me which is yet another reason I’m very selfish. But I think that if you don’t take care of yourself first and love yourself first then you can’t be the person you need to be for others. I don’t think that’s a bad thing either. I think it’s extremely important to be honest with you.
I have no problem telling people no either. If I catered to everyone, I’d have nothing left for me and then I would be no good to anyone.
Great post and one I’ll be sharing. I know a few people who need to read this one Peter so thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.
Adrienne, it seems you’ve already learned it, then. 🙂
How nice that you can say “no”, I still have sometimes a problem with it.
Having a healthy ego is really one of the cornerstones of loving yourself.
Thank your for your comment!
Hi Peter, I like your article. 🙂
I especially like your comment about how when someone gives advice, we should look at where they come from and how different it is from where we come from. We often give advice that worked for us, but other people are not like us, so this advice might not be useful to them, or might even do more harm than good. 🙂
Thank you Rosine!
It was the case for me that advice that would be good for the majority of people would actually have the opposite effect on me – I’ve learned it the hard way sometimes, and now I always look at the background of the person and if he/she’s similar to me. 🙂
Lovely post Peter 🙂
Thank you Weena! 🙂
So true Peter. Putting my needs first is something that I promised to do for myself this year and I have stuck to it. More rest and more “no’s” to people’s requests too.
Hi Justin, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!
More rest sounds nice. 🙂