Don’t Feel Bad About Being Selfish — It Can Be Good For You

For most people, “selfish” is a bad word. When you’re selfish, you only care about yourself, and other people usually end up getting hurt because of it — at least that’s what some people want you to believe. In reality, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being selfish (at least to a certain degree), and it can actually be a good thing. In fact, a recent article in Psychology Today revealed about how the right kind of selfishness not only helps you, but helps the people around you, as well. When you’re selfish, everyone benefits. Here’s why:

  1. Everyone is selfish. Selfishness is a normal human state of mind. While some people may be more selfish than others, we all have the ability to worry about ourselves first and to make ourselves a priority.
  2. The best selfless acts are at least a little bit selfish. Those against selfishness will talk about the selfless acts of charity. But helping others isn’t totally selfless. As Joey taught Phoebe in an episode of Friends, if you get satisfaction from helping people, then it isn’t a completely selfless act.
  3. You’ll be healthier emotionally. You can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself. That’s why flight attendants always say, “If you’re travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your own mask first, and then assist the other person.” It’s a silly example, but it’s true (and a great metaphor for life in general).
  4. You’ll be a better leader. Selfish people often have more self-confidence. That means you’re much better in leadership positions because you’re less likely to give up or let outside opinions get you down. Strong leaders need to be able to keep focusing on the bigger picture and not get weighed down by others.
  5. Your relationships will thrive. You’ve heard about codependency, right? That’s when much of your happiness and sense-of-self relies on your partner. But codependency can damage a relationship. Luckily, selfish people are less likely to have that problem. Plus, you won’t be afraid to speak up and ask for what you want.
  6. People will be less likely to take advantage of you. When people know that you’ll do anything for them, they tend to take advantage of that. If you never say no, you’re going to start saying yes to things you don’t want to do. But if you’re selfish, you’ll take the firm stance. No BS for you.
  7. You can be selfish without being a loser. Let’s get this straight once and for all: Being selfish isn’t a bad thing. Sure, there are some crappy people out there who happen to be selfish, but doesn’t mean it’s the selfishness’s fault. They’re just crappy. Though you should be your main concern, you should also focus on being a good person, treating your family right and helping those in need. In other words, be selfish about improving yourself as a person, and the rest of the world will benefit from it.
Trisha is a full time writer living in Montana. In her free time, she paints mountainscapes on her skin with body paint and reads a ton of YA lit.