Once, a very close friend told me I was selfish. (To be fair, I called her selfish first)
My response without hesitation was: “I know”
She then asked, “Do you not feel bad that people think you’re selfish?”
“No” I replied.
Our conversation irritated my life for the remainder of the day. I couldn’t even enjoy the earlier peacefulness of not feeling bad. I began to reflect on my actions with a selfishness scanner trying to understand why people would think I was selfish.
After all the reflecting, I came to the conclusion that it was a colossal waste of my damn time.
So, I stopped lying to myself and focused on what was really bothering me.
I wasn’t doing all of this reflecting because I wanted to “understand why people would think I was selfish”.
I was doing it for my own benefit; there I go being selfish again!
I was doing it to understand why I didn’t hesitate to admit I was selfish .
It was all to better understand my self-concept.
Your self concept is essentially your own perception or idea of who you are. It is the set of beliefs you hold about you that guide your interactions with yourself and other people. I think it is fluid and self-serving by nature which is why I am amazed at our audacity to call each other selfish.
I realized two things during my reflection. First, I hold a completely different definition of selfishness when it comes to myself (talk about self-serving :). I had long chosen to ignore the negative connotation of selfishness that has especially put women at a disadvantage and embraced its spiritual positivity. Being unselfish does not make you a good person. The inability to be selfish has a lot more to do with a lack of self worth than it does with being a good person. Selfishness means having enough self-respect to choose YOU; to purposefully seek self-validation, self-understanding, and self-love.
The second thing I realized is even based on my own definition, I still was not nearly as beautifully selfish as I hoped to be. I still didn’t do everything for my own satisfaction with a complete lack of consideration for other people’s opinion, admiration, or validation. Truthfully, the majority of us do not even have the strength to be this selfish. The idea of seeking ourselves with a lack of consideration for others can be so frightening that we’d rather hide behind pretend self love, wallow in self pity, do things to impress people, compare ourselves to other people, and entertain people’s grandiosity. We’d rather compromise even when we get the shorter end of the stick because the alternative is ourselves and that’s not good enough.
I’m sure millions before me have asked why it is so hard to let go of emotionally draining situations. The only answer that makes sense to me is we invest too much of our own significance into other people. We attach too much of our value to the way people react to us. The more you can attribute your worth to yourself, the more important you become to your own advancement, the more faith and control you have, the more engaged you become in your own wellbeing, and the more willing you are to let go.
I enjoy seeing people describe scenarios when it’s “okay to be selfish”. All I see is “wannabe selfish” people running toward selfishness for comfort as if it’s a defense mechanism. It’s hilarious because unfortunately I can relate. The scenarios they describe are usually final attempts at self-love, peace of mind, or preservation. Selfishness is not an armor you should put on when you’ve had enough; it is a commitment to yourself. I make it a habit to study and define my self concept because I am not okay living in a world where I run to selfishness for comfort. I am not okay “loving and accepting” myself because someone “empowered” me to do so. I want selfishness to become my way of life so I can truly understand and design my self-concept. I guess admitting I was selfish was some strange first step “speak it into existence” phenomenon.
You should know though, one of the biggest reasons I admitted to it was simply because I really didn’t feel like arguing with my friend that day lol.