The Importance of Learning to Be Selfish

We've all been taught not to be selfish, but there are times when we need to be in order to be happy and avoid being taken advantage of.
The Importance of Learning to Be Selfish

Last update: 12 May, 2022

Being selfish comes with all kinds of negative connotations in our society. It is universally seen as a bad thing, and makes other people look down on you. What it means to be selfish to them is that you don’t know how to share, that you only think of yourself, that you always put yourself first.

We all know we’re not supposed to be selfish. But making that a hard and fast rule leaves no room for flexibility, which is never good in life. There needs to be a balance between generosity and selfishness, because you’re important too, you need to make sure you take care of yourself.

Me first: it’s time to be selfish

Maybe you’ve found yourself in a situation where you told yourself this. “That’s it, from now on I’m going to be selfish and only think of myself.” This happens when you spend too much time thinking about everyone else, living our lives for other people, and neglecting yourself.


If you feel bad for saying no or can’t be there when someone needs you…the simple truth is that you shouldn’t have to feel guilty for that kind of thing .

You need to change this, you need to learn to be a little bit more selfish.

Have you noticed that other people don’t feel guilty about these things, but you do? Or maybe you’ve realize that someone was taking advantage of your kindness? Being generous and putting other people ahead of yourself can lead them to manipulate and attach themselves to you to have you around whenever they need something.

You need to learn to think of yourself first, because you’re important too. You don’t have to always sacrifice yourself for others. Selfishness isn’t always a bad thing, and in this case, it’s even justified. Does giving away all you time and energy make you happy or is it harmful?

I accept and respect myself

If you don’t respect and accept yourself, what makes you think other people will? There are so many more important things to worry about before you can start to worry about other people.

While being generous with other people may make you feel good, there’s a point when your life ends up being nothing but you in service to everyone else.

be selfish, girl kissing herself in mirror

You no longer know who you are and try to please everyone because you can’t stand the thought of someone else having a negative image of you. Or, you end up in a codependent relationship where the happiness isn’t real, it’s entirely artificial and based on the other person.

You need to respect  and accept yourself because happiness comes from within.

When you know how to do those two things, you’ll notice a sense of relief from this urge to constantly be looking out for other people. You have your own life, and it’s normal to want to help others, except that’s not always healthy.

Everyone has their own problems, and as harsh as it may sound, they need to be able to work through them on their own.

Read more:

Emotional Maturity is Knowing Life Isn’t Perfect

Facing problems makes you stronger and gives you valuable experience. Think about the people in your life, do they do the same things for you that you do for them? Maybe you’re giving too those around you and not enough to yourself.

This is why it’s important to remember to think of yourself a little.

If you give, you deserve to receive

In our minds, we have this concept of giving and giving, but never receiving doesn’t usually figure in. Of course, if you offer our help or want to do a good deed, you shouldn’t do it in the hopes of gaining something in return.


But that’s not exactly what we mean by receiving. What we’re saying is that you can go on giving yourself to other people, but sooner or later you have to give yourself permission to be a little bit selfish, to think about yourself.

There are times when you need to learn to put yourself first, to think about yourself before others.

Many people would be horrified by that thought, but you can be so giving towards others it leaves you open to manipulation, as we mentioned before. Remember, if people know you’re always there for them, they could start to abuse that privilege.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to be selfish, don’t get bogged down by all the negative connotations. You’re giving yourself permission to think of yourself first because you’ve already given more than enough.

You’re important, too. You need to respect and accept yourself. No one else is going to take care of you, unless you do it yourself.

Now, if anyone has the nerve to call you selfish, you can say, “sure, but I’m being selfish because I respect and value myself and today I’m going to put me first because I deserve a little attention too.”

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.