“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” – Dalai Lama XIV
The widely accepted school of thought is that selflessness is valued above selfishness. Being selfish in any shape, way, or form is something we all tend to stray from because we feel it is perceptibly negative and can sometimes hinge on being immoral, and who wants that? Well…. You do.
It will be better for your relationships
Oftentimes in relationships we think about how we’re being fulfilled, and what we’re getting out of it. In fact, a lot of people (and I’m guilty as charged) go into relationships hoping it will fulfill them. What people don’t realize though is that this is what often leads to the slow, painful deterioration of their relationships and an opposite effect of what was originally intended. Relationships work best when both people know how to give gracefully and how to receive gracefully. Yet what a lot of people don’t realize is that you don’t really know how to do either before you 100% heck 130% know how to love yourself completely, fully, and unashamedly. So if you take time (and it could be as short as a few weeks or as long as a few years) to feel completely fulfilled in yourself, any relationships you get into will automatically be better because you won’t be looking for anything from the other person, and you’ll be ready to give to them and be patient if they come up short.
It will ultimately help you to attain that selflessness we all feel we should strive for
You can give and give and give all you want, but the simple fact is that if you don’t know how to love yourself, how do you expect to give love to others? Even if you do give love to others and neglect to love yourself, the self-neglect and lack of fulfillment will in the long run cause you to burn yourself out and become incapable of giving any more. This is precisely why you need to take time to love yourself before you love and give to others, and even as you start to give to others, you need to still set aside time to love yourself in order to be completely recharged and fueled for spreading some love like slow-whipped peanut butter (sorry I’m a little hungry).
It will improve your confidence, self-image, and health
Think about it. Human beings innately strive to be loved, feel love, discover love, know love, and did I mention humans appreciate love? But if we’re endlessly chasing for this love in others we will likely fail to find it 99.9% of the time (sorry about my random obsession for exaggerated percentages in this post). This ties in with the idea that human beings are also innately selfish, so even while some people may be very capable and good at giving love, at some time or another their selfish nature will fail to completely satisfy you, and you’ll feel shorted. However, the person who is best capable and knowledgeable about loving you is well… YOU. By putting the attention and energy you have put in trying to attain love from others, refocus that attention into attaining love from yourself. It’s a radical concept isn’t it? Well not really, it’s actually pretty simple because you know you best, and so you know how to love you best, and that’s the beauty of it. By doing so, you will boost your own confidence because you will no longer be putting yourself in a position of searching for acceptance of others, you will be better adjusted, and see yourself through a lens of positivity and respect, unsusceptible to the instable perceptions of others around you.
The wrong type of selfish and the right type of selfish
Now don’t get me wrong, when I say be selfish I don’t mean just greedily and shamelessly use the people around you for your own selfish gain. I don’t mean become a completely vain, self-righteous blockhead, or become completely inconsiderate of others in your life. In fact, the right type of selfishness has nothing to do with others in your life. Being a healthy selfish is finding self-fulfillment in a way that works for you. Discover your passions, interests, hobbies, and self-identity. Write out your thoughts, develop your own dreams, find what makes you happy. Do something each day that gives you content, completion, and peace. Take a lavish vacation to Paris, learn a skill that you’ve always wanted to, workout without distractions for an hour each day, eat a whole container of cupcakes without feeling guilty (okay maybe don’t do that last one, but cupcakes are awesome).
Whatever it is that you need to do for you, do it before you do anything for anyone else. Focus on unearthing individual self-love, trust me it’s better for everyone involved.