How to be the right kind of selfish

May 07, 2017

how to build self esteem + personality development + self care for the mind




Selfish was one of the first words I learnt when I was in the first grade. I learnt this word from the older people I associated with as a child. They would casually call each other selfish and with time I learnt the meaning by observing the actions that preceded the name calling. On that note, I understood selfish to mean not wanting to share and acting on one’s own interest before others; a lack of consideration. Such a negative word. However, I found positivity in a certain kind of selfish that I recommend for anyone on a developmental path.

Therefore, having a dream and choosing to chase it will require us to be selfish in determining what is best for it. For example, living for people’s expectation and letting others live through you is the beginning and end of an unfulfilled life. I broke away from that by being true to myself and chasing the life I really wanted without feeling guilty about it so I decided to BE SELFISH and this was how.


  1. Identifying types of selfishness: Selfishness is one of the worst character attributions. It depicts cruelty and greed, and lacking humanity and yet one of the main reason why we are not living the kind of life we dreamed for ourselves is because we are suffering from the consequences of the exact opposite word; selflessness, caving to the whims and demands of anyone but ourselves because we are not selfish enough and this is because we have failed to understand that there is a good and a bad kind of selfishness.

  2. Choosing the right kind: the good kind of selfishness involves having the courage, the self-awareness to give priorities to ourselves at particular points. The confidence to be straightforward about our needs not in order to harm or reject other people but in order to be valuable to them in deeper and more committed way for the long term and the bad kind is the total opposite of this. There is a total lack of empathy in such a case.

  3. Be clear: being in a state of confusion about the clear difference in the two kinds of selfishness may result in damaging consequences to those we intend to serve. We must state our needs as clearly as possible. For example, in order to be a good partner, parent or friend, we may need some time to ourselves to keep our sanity, regroup or indulge in other things for a bit of time to clear our minds. However, indulging in other activities will appear contradictory to the service we render to people so we keep everything bottled inside us and become easily aggravated and bitter and become ineffective people later on.

  4. Remain stern: you shouldn’t be embarrassed of what you need to do in order to develop your self or to reach your goals. If a ‘me time’ is what you need to get you through the rest of the week by all means have one, if moving away from home is what will allow you achieve your goals then you should do it. It’s okay to put yourself first and stop living according to expectations. Having space to yourself and doing what makes you happy is what brings out the best in us and in turn makes us more productive to our loved ones.

  5. Become a better ambassador of your intentions: in order not to be read the wrong way, we have to communicate better to those around us that we are not being greedy or insensitive. Explain to them why you cannot do what is expected of you at that time or why you have made another choice contrary to what they wanted for you, perhaps you will be able to render better help at a later time by persuading them kindly. Explain to them why you've made certain choices. They may understand, but remember they have no obligations to agree with you. Nevertheless you have chosen to be selfish because you want to be happy.

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