Am I selfish for wanting to be happy?
Am I selfish for knowing what my worth is?
Even… Am I selfish for not wanting a baby?
We’ve all heard these questions, and variations thereof. And, maybe not surprisingly, I see a strong connection between these types of questions, and having low confidence and self-esteem.
But very well, then. AM I selfish for, say, spending more time, money and energy on myself than on anyone else?
Well, probably. But people tend to forget this one neat little counterpoint…:
The problem with the word ‘selfish’ — and, for that matter, the word ‘egotistical’ — is that it’s gotten a bad rep over time. When someone accuses someone else of being selfish, it’s necessarily implied that that person is being TOO selfish.
But… Too selfish for WHAT, exactly? Measured by exactly whose standards?
People rarely, if ever, elaborate on an accusation of selfishness. As if first and foremost tending to one’s own was a bad thing in and by itself.
But there’s good news: It’s not.
Sure, I might be wrong, but my general impression is, those who try to make others feel guilty about allegedly being ‘selfish’ tend to be the ones who don’t allow themselves to have very many joys in life.
Like I’ve talked about before, there’s nothing inherently wrong with allowing yourself to have cool things and experiences. For all we know, we only live once. So if I were you, I’d see to it that I start living it up instead of just getting by.
Yes, there are millions of innocent people suffering worldwide. And the idea that everyone should do their part in raising the lower bar is kind and beautiful, no doubt.
But is it realistic? Is it easily doable? Is it even specific?
Now don’t get me wrong here. Of course, ideally, everyone SHOULD definitely do whatever they can for those in dire need. And if you do, more power to ya.
But if you spend more time, money and energy on anything but your own goal in life, I’d personally say you were doing it wrong. (Unless, of course, that’s your goal in life.)
And, see, that’s another thing. What you do for yourself isn’t necessarily extravagance and gratuitous first-world luxury. It might even be small investments in becoming the person you genuinely want to be.
“But everyone are unique and perfect just the way they are!” Yeah, unless, you know, they’re not. And the day you stop developing, you start withering.
By improving myself, I continually get better at improving the world and the people around me. If I didn’t continually spend time, money and energy educating myself on coaching, what kind of a coach would I be??
But of course, it goes way beyond my work. The reason I’m in the self-development industry in the first place is because I’ve been working with self-development on a personal level for years.
And when someone spends years refining the gentle arts of, say, goal-setting, daily reading, mental focus, physical health, time management, inner peace and calm, and prioritizing the most important daily tasks, do they tend to naturally improve the world around them?
Yeah, I thought so.
Now, you might CALL all of this ‘selfishness’. And you might even THINK that there’s something inherently wrong with improving upon oneself. But there isn’t, really. It’d only be you making a judgment.
The whole idea that you wouldn’t improve upon yourself for fear of what others might think is nothing more than a bad excuse for covering up self-sabotage. Because there ARE only excuses for not allowing oneself to grow into one’s inner ideals, however selfish others might judge them to be.