Is it bad to be selfish? (Two faces of selfishness)
Selfishness is something that is almost always considered a bad trait in the society we live in. When someone is said to be selfish, they often refer to the type of person who looks solely at their personal interests, does not take into account the interests of others, and does not care about the harm of their own behavior.
Contrary to selfishness, being available to others and constantly pleasing others is considered a far greater and more desirable virtue. Many spiritual teachings also classify selfishness under the realm of pure egoism, and see absolutely nothing good in selfishness. For centuries, the principle of unconditional giving has been considered a spiritual virtue – whatever that means – and people who would even give their lives defending certain ideas and ideals were often considered saints.
However, in my understanding, there are two types of selfishness – healthy and unhealthy selfishness.
Unhealthy selfishness would mean what is commonly thought of in society when discussing the concept of selfishness. However, healthy selfishness, on the other hand, is something that is necessary to develop in order to function as a whole person and achieve your goals. Creating a healthy dose of selfishness is one of the more important steps in developing your self-esteem and, as a consequence, confidence in yourself, your uniqueness and your potential.
An analogy with candle and wax
To clarify what I mean by a healthy dose of selfishness, I’ll tell you a nice analogy with candle and wax …
Imagine being a candle consisting of wax and flame.
You can give your flame unlimited light and light others and light an unlimited number of other candles. As long as you act in this way, you are not harming yourself, you are only helping others and feeling even better.
However, if you start giving your wax away, you can rest assured that you will soon be out of flames. Instead of love and joy, you will feel exhausted and irritated.
You will be accompanied by the feeling that the world owes you something and that everyone should worship you because you have given your wax to the world. The fact is, the world owes you nothing. All the experiences you have are consistent with your core beliefs about life. If you feel that you are getting far less than you are giving and you think you should get, it is time to change the way you look at life and the people around you.
Without being selfish enough and allowing yourself to fill your life with activities and modes of expression that make you happy and filled with positive energy, you will quickly find yourself in a situation where you feel you have nothing more to give.
Activities such as meditation, relaxation, resting, walking, playing sports or music, painting, reading, writing, hanging out with loved ones, spending time in solitude, etc., are essential on a daily basis to help you maintain yourself in optimal condition.
To be able to give love to others, you must first feel that love in yourself. To be able to give joy to others, you must first feel that joy in yourself. To be able to give peace to others, you must first feel peace in yourself.
To be able to give something to others, what you want to give must first have or be – whether it is a matter or an emotion. Without being selfish enough and taking enough time to keep you happy and nourished on the inside, your flames will quickly be extinguished.
We all have the unlimited potential to create the life we truly desire – a life that is in line with our life purpose. That’s why we came to Earth. Do you think God – or call that intelligence whatever you want – accidentally created you? Do you think that the desires you feel in the depth of your heart came about by accident? However, the potential we carry within ourselves will not develop by itself.
If you do not develop it daily, rest assured that no one else will do it for you. Developing your potential is solely your part of the business on Earth. Others may help you to some extent, but you are the person who has to start up and take responsibility for your life. “God helps those who help themselves!”.
Take it a step further in the path of your personal and spiritual development, and begin to respect yourself more by allowing yourself to put yourself first in your life!
Be like a flame that will spread its light to everyone around you, but keep the wax for yourself!
This does not mean that you will become a person in whose heart there is no place for others, nor that you will not consider the interests of others and stop worrying about the harm of your own behavior. This does not mean that you will completely ignore someone else’s needs and desires. This does not mean that you will in any way distance yourself from other people. This does not mean that you will dislike others less.
It just means that whatever you consider good and noble will be done at another higher level because you will have more energy at your disposal and will be accompanied by a far greater sense of love, joy and peace!
Of course, in the process, expect the resentment and moral criticism of those who are accustomed to your full engagement in terms of your involvement in meeting their wants and needs. Many will call you selfish because you put your true desires and feelings first and did not satisfy their selfishness and put their desires and feelings first.
Do you understand the point?
In short, for the sake of your healthy selfishness, you will only be judged by those who function at the level of unhealthy selfishness and who believe that their desires are more important than your desires, and those who believe that their life, I do not know by what logic, is more important than yours!
“You are selfish because in the foreground you have your true desires, not what I want and I think you should want and do. You should satisfy my desires and what I think is right, because I know better!”