Ironically, being a little more selfish this year could enable you to be more effectively selfless. It’s definitely a complex phenomenon, but many human beings devote so much time and energy to helping others that they don’t care for themselves enough. People might be able to get away with this for a while, but over the long-term, doing this will take its toll; all human beings require personal rest and satisfaction in order to function properly, let alone to effectively aid others in living well. With this in mind, please read the info and insights below so you and the people you interact with can both benefit from a slightly more selfish perspective.
#1: A little selfishness enhances your health.
According to Bob Rosen, author of Grounded: How Leaders Stay Rooted in an Uncertain World , “When you take care of yourself first, you show up as a healthy, grounded person in life.” After interviewing numerous executives, it was shown that strong physical health was common among most strong leaders: “Instead of spending all of their time at work, these men and women carve out time for themselves. For example, Dennis Nally is global chairman of PwC, and he travels more than any other person I know. Exercises all the time, and eats well. He knows in order to sustain his travel agenda he has to take the time to take care of himself.”
#2: Selfish people get promoted more.
Research not only indicates that selfish people are usually strong leaders, but also that they are more likely to be a manager, supervisor, or owner: “Selfish people are more confident and less likely to give up on goals. They go after what they want unapologetically, and they’re not afraid to ask for the raise or promotion. . . . Selfish people have a drive to succeed. There is often a higher purpose to be a great leader–taking care of other people. But if you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t care for others. Being selfish is critical.” Indeed, it seems as though a lack of selfishness could negatively impact more people than just the person in question.
#3: Selfishness results in better relationships.
Melissa Deuter, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, argues that, “Selfish is an ugly word but it can mean two different things. One connotation is that you’re unkind and inconsiderate of others. The other is that you take responsibility for getting your personal, emotional and physical needs met, and that’s an important part of becoming an adult. Setting boundaries means knowing where you end and other person begins. If you have trouble being self-focused, you might have trouble saying no.”
Rosen roundly concurs: “To be a healthy, grounded person, you need to be selfish. If you’re looking to a partner to fill your emotional needs, your relationship is vulnerable. The best relationships happen when two adults show up and enjoy each other.” If you consider how much time and energy couples spend doing things for each other “just because,” it stands to reason that both partners would benefit from doing a little less for each other and a little more for themselves.
#4: A little selfishness will make you a lot happier.
Quite frankly, when you do more things that bring you joy, peace, and release, you become a much happier human being overall. As per Deuter, “If you have a well-developed sense of who you are, what you enjoy and the ability to communicate this to others, you’ll be a happier person. Putting yourself first is not a negative quality; it’s your job to take care of yourself and get what you need.”
As can be seen, in order to live in a way that will bring you the most happiness, peacefulness, and success, it’s imperative to devote enough time and energy to spending time alone—and to thinking alone. Once you have a firm grasp on who you really are as a person and on who you want to become as a person, then you can efficiently focus your actions to ensure they are more effective for yourself and everyone else you interact with.
*This content was inspired by an amazing article found here.