Is It Okay to Be Selfish?



e probably know someone in our lives who demonstrates “selfish behavior.” The paradigm in our society about this kind of behavior is that it is a bad thing. Some people even call it immoral. It seems that when someone is being selfish, their behaviors and actions are all driven from their personal desires and needs. But before we go any further and jump to any conclusions as to whether this type of behavior is truly a bad thing or not, we must understand that not all selfishness is created equal.

Redefining Selfish

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines selfish as “concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage or well-being without regard for others.”1  In the strict sense of the word, behaving “selfishly” is to benefit oneself in a way that can disregard another person’s social, emotional, physical, and overall well-being to the point of knowingly causing harm.

Here are some signs of “bad selfish behavior” to look out for:

  • When someone is always in the mode of “take, take, take” and never giving back in some way that is genuine.
  • When the person you are around is more concerned about hearing the sound of their own voice much more than what you have to say,
  • The one-sided conversation or relationship when all that matters to the person is what is happening in their lives.
  • When a person is unwilling to compromise or do something that interests you also.
  • When a person’s advice or actions are strictly rooted in their own benefit despite that it may harm another individual.
  • When a person is constantly laying blame or guilt tripping you into making decisions.

Nevertheless, we hear that it is better to give than receive…but at what cost? Being of service is a big part of a person’s personal happiness. But it’s one thing to care about others and look out for them, especially your family and friends. It’s another thing to spend every moment taking care of everyone else’s needs to the point of exhaustion where it starts to affect your psychological and physical well-being.

When you have children, they become your number one responsibility and rightfully so. However, it is very important to recharge your batteries from time-to-time because it is very difficult to give to your family if you are exhausted and your emotional jar is drained.

It’s Okay to Say NO!

Does it make you a bad person to decline something for your own benefit? If you feel like you want to say NO to some invitation to go somewhere or do something, then say it! Don’t say YES just because you don’t want someone to feel bad. When you do that, you are really neglecting yourself and your needs.

Have you ever felt like I have before? You work a long week and someone invites you somewhere and you just don’t feel like going for whatever reason. Maybe you don’t want to be caught up in gossip, drama, or negativity. Or maybe you are just tired from a long week and want to spend time alone to rest and recharge.

The Selfish Gauge

Ask yourself the following questions next time you are questioning if your behavior is truly “selfish.”

  • Is what you are doing helping or hurting your emotional well-being?
  • Is your behavior good for you and neutral or benefiting others or is your behavior  harming others?
  • Is what you are doing serving your highest values in helping you achieve your dreams or is it compromising them in some way for someone else’s desires?

It is vital to take care of yourself at all costs. If you are staying in a particular situation because you are worried about being selfish for leaving and it is affecting your health, it’s time for a change. Sometimes it can be as simple as taking a day off from work or getting a babysitter for the kids while you do something for yourself. It could be politely declining someone’s request, leaving a job you can’t stand or breaking off a toxic relationship.

If you would like to learn how to completely regain balance, joy, and happiness in your life starting today, while handling all of life’s day-to-day responsibilities, download my new program “30 Days to Finding You.” I walk you through my 10-Step Personal Happiness Formula that can be specifically applied for your life. Click here to learn more.

To A Great YOU!