Be Selfish – It’s a Good Thing!
I know that’s not what most people will tell you. There’s a cultural taboo on selfishness.
Yet what I mean by selfishness is something different to what most people mean – I mean something like putting yourself first, and taking into account in your life choices your own needs, wishes and desires. I mean following your heart, and making sure that while you respect the rights and responsibilities of others, you don’t spend your life serving others at the expense of yourself.
You see, when you do something that fulfills your own needs and your innate desire to be happy, it will also almost certainly put smiles on faces of the people around you. Richard Bach put it rather nicely in his book Illusions: “Anyone who has ever given anything meaningful to the world has been a divinely selfish soul.” Does that shock you? In truth, the most important thing in your world is to express your own desires, wishes, needs and values. In short, to live authentically.
Self-Fulfillment Is Everything
You see, there’s something inherently disrespectful towards the universe about not becoming everything that you can truly be. The universe has given you a unique set of gifts and abilities, talents and skills, and it’s open to you to use them for the greatest joy and fulfillment that you can achieve in life.
You see, others can only keep you from happiness if you allow them to.
And yes, certainly compromise may be necessary if you’re in a relationship and the two of you want different things. Indeed, it may even be necessary for you to break up with a partner if you want very different things from life, and your mutual growth will be achieved by going separate ways.
The overall point is this: self-fulfillment is not just about material wealth – it’s about emotional satisfaction and spiritual fulfillment as well. And perhaps the best way to achieve this is to follow your heart wherever it leads you.
And of course, it might be wrong for you to lay waste to the world around you when you have some responsibility and commitment to that world. You can’t abandon children, for example, and you may not want to abandon your partner, and you may even feel responsible for sticking at your job. So under certain circumstances, “follow your heart” may not be a maxim that’s currently practical for you.
But if you have NO idea what you want to do in life, and if you aren’t going to jeopardize the well-being of your immediate circle, why not take a leap of faith? Why not move city, change your career, go back to university….. Or whatever?
Be sure that if you don’t honor your choices and preferences, then no-one else is likely to do so! The truth is, others don’t know what your heart is telling you, nor do they know the gifts you have which you’re not using, and they certainly don’t know what that inner voice has been whispering to you all these years.
Can you accept that your greatest responsibility is to be true to yourself? To express your natural talents and abilities, and to respect your preferences, values, and beliefs? By doing this you will increase your self-esteem, you will certainly increase the probability of getting what you want in life, and above all you won’t die with regrets about the things that you never dared to try.