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If you’re unhappy with life, maybe you need to spend more time on yourself. Maybe you need to learn how to be more selfish.
But aren’t we taught our whole lives that we need to be selfless to be a good person?
Yes, no doubt being selfless and caring for those we love should trump everything else. You should love your kids more than yourself and value your friendships above material wealth. However, these things shouldn’t stop you from dedicating time and energy towards self-improvement.
Reasons to Be More Selfish
Maybe you’re already in a strong place in your life. You’re financially independent, love what you do for a living, and are happy and emotionally stable. And you have just the right balance of adventure and stability in your life.
If that’s the case, you probably don’t need to spend more time on yourself. If it’s not the case, here are a few reasons you might need to learn how to be more selfish.
1. You Use Family Obligations As An Excuse
It truly is a noble thing to toil at a job you hate to provide for your family — it is even more commendable if you can do it with a smile. The thought of a father or mother tirelessly working at a job they hate to provide a better future for their children is a testament to humanity.
If you can truly find joy in your life by providing for your family, whatever that means, then more power to you. But, if you want something more out of life than your current job, you owe it to yourself to make it happen. You owe it to your family.
“But what about my family? How will I provide for them?”
Here’s the thing: you don’t need to give up providing for your family to pursue your dreams, but you certainly could be using it as an excuse.
After having my first child, I experienced this myself. I soon realized that there was one time during the day I could always spend on myself–5 am. You can be a selfish person at 5 am.
You can work toward your dreams and focus on yourself at 5 am. Need help becoming an early riser? The Early To Rise Experience is a great book that can help you learn to rise early in just 30 days, and don’t forget our 13 Ways to Wake Up Early even if you stay up late.
If your basic shelter needs are met, what exactly are you sacrificing for? Do your children really need a brand new car when they turn 16? Do they need all-expenses paid trips abroad after graduation? Would your grandchildren really benefit from a trust fund or a large inheritance?
Or will your kids working for their luxuries teach them important lessons in the value of money, developing the right priorities, and appreciating what you have — instead of always wanting more?
We have the instinct to make things easier for our kids, and we want them to have the best life possible. But beyond providing food, shelter, and education, your children don’t need as much as you think they do. And, the things they do need from you are free — unconditional love and being taught honesty and how to treat people, for example.
If pursuing your dream means you won’t have the disposable income to buy your child a brand new car for their 16th birthday, then so be it. Your child doesn’t need luxuries as such to succeed.
3. You Can’t Help Others If You Can’t Help Yourself
Focusing on fixing the problems in your own life puts you in a position to help others, financially or otherwise. It’s a lot like when you’re on a plane during an emergency — you must put on your oxygen mask before helping others, even if the other person is someone you love more than life itself.
If you try to put the oxygen mask on your child before you put it on yourself, you could pass out, and you both could die.
Being financially and emotionally secure puts you in a much better position to help others without being dragged down. In this case, being selfish will allow you to be more selfless in the long run.
The Benefits of Selfishness
Selfishness is important for overall health because it requires you to care of your own needs. When we overload ourselves, we start to burn out. It is time to start prioritizing your needs above others, whether at home, school, or work. Here are the benefits of selfishness.
1. Creates Healthy Relationship Boundaries
When you learn to be a little selfish in your relationships, you will find you can engage with others better, creating a healthy relationship. You will be able to enforce boundaries and find the right balance between making yourself available and ensuring you have time to take care of yourself.
When you make yourself always available to another person, conflict can quickly arise. Instead, prioritize yourself in the relationship, whether romantic or platonic.
Related Reading: 10 Mindful Relationship Rituals Happy Couples Observe
2. Improves Mental Health
When you learn how to be selfish, you learn how to prioritize your needs, including your well-being and mental health. This kind of selfishness lets you feel, identify and even process all your emotions and feelings as they sweep over you.
You aren’t always completely focused on someone else, so you can take the time to check in with yourself. This can uplift your mood and make you much more aware of your mental health.
3. Frees Up Time
When you practice healthy selfishness, you can find time to do things you love to do and invest in your own personal growth. Do you love reading but always have to compromise on time so you can help someone else? Focus on your own selfish interests first because you deserve to find happiness.
4. Increases Your Accountability
When you find ways to engage in selfish behavior, you also find ways to hold yourself more accountable. You are more accountable regarding your goals, actions, thoughts, and emotions.
You stop allowing yourself to let your past dictate your current mood. When you are selfish, you can figure out your true values and how your behavior affects those values. More accountability equates to greater success…for yourself.
5. Increases Your Self-Worth and Value
You know how well you can care for others and provide for them, but what about providing for yourself? You need to understand your self-worth and value because this is a good indicator of how you feel.
When you aren’t selfish, you find your sense of self in external things, which can lead to high stress levels and anxiety. Free yourself from this today and find your value.
How to Be Selfish
Now that we know a few reasons why it is okay to learn to be selfish, let’s look at some tips for focusing on ourselves. Sometimes it’s a good thing!
1. Cut Your To-Do List Down
Many of us schedule appointments and fill our calendars with work, meetings, and engagements. When we overload like this, it can be hard to finish things, leading to frustration.
Prioritizing tasks and cutting down the to-do list can lead to more productivity and more satisfaction in life. It gives us the selfish motivation we need to focus less on others and what they need from us and focus more on our own self-centered behavior.
In doing so, we can maintain a level of mutual respect without feeling obligated to do more than we can handle.
2. Take Breaks
Mental health breaks are important and can turn a day that feels like it is full of chores and work into a somewhat pleasurable day. When you take a break, do something you love doing. For example, read a few chapters of your favorite book, take a walk, do a quick workout, or turn on your favorite song and dance.
3. Find Time for a Nap
A nap is a great way to be more selfish. Sleep loss and sleep depravation can be detrimental to your overall health. After a nap, you will find some clarity and alertness, and it is a great way to relieve some stress, find your focus, and boost creativity and productivity. So, find a nice, quiet spot, lay down, and get some shut-eye. Don’t worry about anything else but yourself for a while.
4. Take a Break From Your Cell Phone
How many of us are attached to our cell phones? We are always on them, making phone calls, scrolling social media, and checking emails. A cell phone can be addictive, and it can begin to control your time the same way others try to do.
Take a break from your electronics. Turn off notifications, put the phone on silent, and focus on yourself instead.
5. Take a Vacation
Who doesn’t love a good vacation? Even if you don’t think you can afford one, there are still ways to take advantage of a good vacation staying close to home.
You can do a staycation at home or book a room at a local hotel. It is simply the time away from your routine that can help your overall health. It can lower your blood pressure and heart rate and help with anxiety.
6. Invest in Yourself
Self-improvement is the best way to invest in yourself and improve. It allows you to reach your highest potential possible, taking full advantage of all the benefits an investment in self-improvement offers spiritually, mentally, physically, financially, and emotionally.
7. Just Say No
You have already committed to a plan to do something you want to do, but a few friends call and ask if you want to go to dinner. Don’t be afraid to say no and get a rain check so you can focus on yourself and do what you want to do.
Saying yes to everything can leave a person feeling stressed and stretched too thin. Say no and prioritize yourself and your own happiness. Be selfish.
8. Stop Giving Yourself Away for Free
If you are a people pleaser, it is no surprise that everyone goes to you for advice or help personally or professionally. This can lead to you undervaluing yourself because you are giving vital parts of yourself out for free.
If you have talents and gifts, don’t hesitate to charge for that time. Create a strong relationship with yourself and show others that self-confidence and value.
I advise against using any of the reasons above to justify always being selfish. Give generously, be there for your friends no matter what, and put other people’s needs before yours. Just because you want to be a selfish person at times doesn’t make you a self-centered person.
Selfish behavior should not be viewed as a bad thing. Instead, look at being a selfish person as a way to promote healthy boundaries, build a healthy relationship, and find opportunities for personal growth.
Remember that you can only give what you have. Dispel any negative connotation that comes with each selfish act.Make the most of what you have by being selfish when the time is appropriate, and you’ll have much more to give.
You’re also possibly unhappy with life because you’re too selfish. It works both ways. Find happiness in your personal life and eliminate the guilt you feel when you show self-interest.