5 Reasons You Need to be Selfish

Photo from susantuttlephotography.com

Photo from susantuttlephotography.com

At the end of the day, we must remember that we are our top priority. Sounds like common sense, right?

And yet, after extending energy into our daily lives and the people in it, somehow we can find our own needs falling to the wayside.

Many of us (like myself) are people pleasers, saying “yes” to everything a family member, friend, or significant other may ask of you. Go to this family function, come out tonight, go to these three networking events this week, etc. Sound familiar?

Oh and by the way, while the world demands so much of your time, also try to be a happy, healthy, and content individual.

So yes, it is great to be busy and hardworking, but remember that our world can be as draining as it is rewarding. And we need to prioritize. Starting with being selfish.

This is a necessity, not just a suggestion. I truly believe being selfish is not only a good thing, but it will bring you to that full level of success and contentment that we all strive for.

Please note: I don’t mean be selfish in a way that is malicious or harmful to others, but a good selfish, meaning that you and only you are your priority.

Here’s why we should be selfish:

You can’t expect people to put you first if you don’t do it yourself.

This is something that took me a very long time to learn. I feel better when I know the people closest to me, and the ones I love, are okay. However, after awhile I found that in the times I wasn’t particularly okay, that was not anybody else’s priority. Yes, I have a great support system and I cherish everyone. But I found myself astounded, and sometimes angry, when people were not as attentive as I think I am for them.

I realized after a while that everyone was putting their needs first, and if I put their needs before mine, who was putting my needs first?

Once I started putting my needs first—meaning that sometimes I have to say no in order to do so, my happiness rose.

I learned that loving myself and loving the people around me could co-exist, and I was then satisfied. I always used to think it was a “bad” selfish to put myself first, but I’ve learned it’s normal and necessary.

You need to be selfish in order to grow.

I realized this after a rough-patch halfway through my college career. I was frustrated with my poor handling of my responsibilities. I was discouraged with my outcomes and results in classes and at work.

Overall, it came back to my happiness. I wasn’t happy because I was drained. I wasn’t putting myself first.

When I started to do that, I realized I could focus on my personal growth so much more.

Alone time is necessary for personal growth. Selfishness is too.

I zeroed in on my career goals and put time aside to grow in my field. I focused on goals in personal relationships, and watched them flourish too. If your energy is on everything around you, how are you going to grow? My growth has made me stronger, and I wish I had realized this sooner.

Being selfish will show you who your true friends are.

As I started to put myself first, some people did not react well. There’s a saying that the moment you start saying “no,” people act like you have never said “yes.” I found this to be true. In the beginning, I feared the negative backlash from people I cared about when I started cutting my time down with them.

I didn’t want people to think I was trying to be hurtful—I tried to express that my new choices were for personal growth, my happiness, and me. I was being selfish, but I didn’t want to be viewed as selfish.

But with my new attitude, I realized most of the people in my life had no problem with it. My best friend and my mother both told me how proud they were of me for growing and being a stronger individual across all aspects of life.

Through being selfish, I realized who my real friends were. They were the ones who respected my decisions and loved me in spite of them. Knowing who my true friends are has created an even stronger foundation that I am blessed to have.

You need to be selfish in order to achieve your goals.

As I’ve stated, saying “no” is the biggest example of me putting myself first. It was hard. But once I started putting myself first, I blocked out the white noise. My alone time and my focus on myself fueled my motivation. I was able to really focus on my goals and managed my time better. This has helped me succeed, graduate college, and possess increased responsibilities at my jobs.

Last but not least, selfishness is essential for your personal health.

You need to put yourself first and be selfish for your mental health. Blocking out the white noise helps you focus on your goals, but it also is essential in those moments that you need a break.

Putting yourself first means you schedule that extra gym session, because your body needs it. It means sleeping in once in awhile, or saying no to a night out because you want to rest.

It also means removing yourself from negative situations and people, and that being okay, because it means you want to maintain a positive mental health. At the end of the day, isn’t that the most important thing?

So really, why should you be selfish? Because in this case, selfish is just another word for self-love.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: AMY VAUGHN9d54e19e059511e2a62d1231380fd04a_7

I am a recent Montclair State University graduate with a BA in English. My first love is writing, specifically nonfiction and short stories. International human rights and women’s rights are also strong passions of mine. I hope to someday be able to call myself an editor, human rights advocate, and jewelry designer. I can’t live without Mad Men (er, Netflix), soy chai lattes, or my adorable Wheaten terrier, Pippin.

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