Why It Is Your Right To Be Selfish

Do you ever ask yourself “Is it ok to be selfish?”  Do you feel you have a right to make choices that are just for you?  Is there ever a time in your life when being selfish is exactly what you need to do?  Or do you feel allergic to the word…break out in hives just thinking about it?

The word “selfish” creates conflicting emotions for women.  On one side, it feels good to just think of yourself and not have to always be “on” for other people.  Then there is the other side, the one that society has laid down regarding a women’s role – the side that says being selfish is not what we would ever want others to think about us.  It’s just not feminine.

Why are we so fearful of being thought of as selfish? Mainly because we have a distorted interpretation of what selfish looks like.  It’s an all-or-nothing syndrome.  We are either selfish or caring.  It’s time we stop being fearful of the word and instead see the possibilities where being selfish is the right solution to a problem.

Being honest about our needs and wants is important.  It’s in honesty that we add the most value to the people around us.  Resisting being selfish is dishonest and hinders having a true intimate relationship with yourself and others.

Of course, if you haven’t been honest and start to be now, others will react and won’t want the change.  Does that make it wrong to be selfish?  Or are we just afraid of not being loved if we choose to take care of ourselves?

When you turn off the option of being selfish, you turn off your ability to nurture yourself.  In life, balance is crucial – balance between nurturing others and nurturing ourselves.  Both of these options enhance who we are as people.

What if women were to see selfish as “devoted to or caring for oneself?”  What if we were to acknowledge that we are the only ones who can care for ourselves as we know what we want?  What if selfish was good for you and for others as well?  If you took care of yourself and were true to your needs, would others really suffer or would they learn to care for themselves instead of looking to you for nurturance?

Another Reality

Lots of women subscribe to the belief that they are to be the nurturers and selfishness is considered an undesirable trait.  Yet, what if they are wrong and in  fact the undesirable trait is focusing all of your attention on others…being co-dependent?

A person who doesn’t perform selfish acts becomes burned out and has to find different ways to take care of her needs.  These same women may get angry, frustrated, overeat, feel alone, zone out in front of TV or overwork so they don’t have to look at their own ability to care for themselves.

Remember, extreme beliefs promote extreme behaviors in order to maintain and manage a belief that doesn’t serve you.

Even if you have young children who need caring, there is always time to care for yourself in a day, to carve out time just for you.  That’s what selfish is really about – caring for yourself.  We don’t have to go from caring exclusively for others to selfish and swing in this huge zone.  Rather, small selfish acts done for ourselves enhance our lives and the lives around us.  Stand up and be selfish today.

Final Thoughts

Words are powerful and sometimes we can’t change how we react to a certain word.  If your mind shuts down on the word “selfish,” and you just won’t even think of playing with that word, how about choosing another word that supports your well-being?  Is replacing the word selfish with self-care, wellness, time for one’s self, self-love, authentic self a better solution for you?  Find the word that best fits your vision of self-care and incorporate actions into your life that support it.

Be well,

Karen & Pat
maximize the value of the women in your life


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6 Responses to “Why It Is Your Right To Be Selfish”

  • Fancy Says:

    My friend and I use the word Selful to describe self-caring behaviors. A couple years ago we made a list of -ful words–peacful, beautiful, etc., to support our use of the word.

  • Pat Says:

    Hi Fancy
    The word Selful is gentle, yet filled with lots of potential.

    It’s great that you and your friend understand the importance of self-care. Curious…have you shared your word with others?

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Kay Says:

    Hi Karen and Pat,
    So nice to read ladies who are spreading the word about being Selfish. We often forget that in life there are always opposites; good/bad, black/white, Selfish/Selfless. In order to be whole we need to have both sides in equal quantities.

    It is good to be Selfish, to place the oxygen mask on first before helping others. That’s why my book is called ‘Sensibly Selfish – How to put the ME back into Midlife’.

    I would like to link this post on my website, so others can read it, with your permission of course.

  • Pat Says:

    Hi Kay

    Happy to be part of spreading the word for women to be Sensibly Selfish. Feel free to link to our article.

    How often, when flying, we have heard, “place your oxygen mask on first before helping others”, and see the purpose there, but not in other parts of our lives.

    Wishing you the best with your coaching practice.

    Thanks for sharing.


  • Kara Says:

    Well done! I’m a health & lifestyle coach that stumbled on this article while researching the topic of “selfishness” for women. I couldn’t agree more with you.

  • Vincent Sylvan Says:

    The analysis of being “Selfish”
    By Vincent Sylvan

    This word has been distorted for generations to the point which all of you think it is bad to be selfish.
    Here is what Webster’s dictionary says about this word.

    “Devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interest, benefits, welfare etc. regardless of others.”

    This must have been written by an altruistic idiot who thinks going against
    Nature is very smart and proper.
    The whole statement contradicts itself!
    But it sounds so proper and altruistic…. that is why people believe it to be true; it has a lie mixed with truth and that is why infiltrates your defenses.

    This is how I see this;
    1. I was born alone and I will die alone; I am the one that has to protect myself to be healthy emotionally, physically, mentally, economically, spiritually, sexually….Then it is ok to be selfish.

    2. If my goal in life is to be happy and happiness comes from been with other people, then I have to be concerned about treating other people fair. That is the contradiction with the statement of Webster, we need people and we must tread the people of our choice fair.

    3. It is selfish to give to others (to the ones that deserve my gifts), because their human nature will want to give back to me in return, and because it pleases me to contribute to the human race which I belong.

    4. My goal in life is to do the best of my abilities for the glory of my Creator, and for my own pleasure, therefore I have to protect myself, I have to interact with others in order to prosper, I have to be selfish!

    5. I have to be selfish and strive to gain at all times; therefore I will not waste my time on people or situations which do not benefit me in the present or in the future.

    6. I believe in love and love comes from been selfish. Nature is selfish and works constantly to obtain its own balance.

    Are you selfish when you breathe air without concern on your neighbor?

    You Bit!

    Is it wrong to do this?

    I don’t think so…

    Yes, The world is not selfish enough!
    That is why the “Divorce epidemic.”

    Selfish people are more cautious and will evaluate more before getting married.
    Your integrity is weak, because you are not selfish, (my version).
    Your vision has been compromised, because of it!
    Your potential has been sabotaged, because of it!
    Your happiness is not attainable, because of it! On… and on….

    Here is an example;
    You have met a man and you are attracted to him. After a short time you realize there are some things in his personality which do not please you. Without evaluating properly you decide to change his bad habits to please yourself.
    After sometime his bad habits do not change and then you blame him for not changing.

    Can the Sun stop from shinning?
    Can you change a dog from barking?
    Will you not get wet if you jump in the water with bare skin?
    Can you change your man the way that he is?

    If your answer to these four questions is NO, then you are getting to the root of the problem. Selfish (my version) people do not fight Nature, they know they can’t win.

    Here is a little story about selfishness;

    “Jim and Joe where walking in the fields when all of a sudden they realized they were hungry, Joe spotted an apple tree and claimed on it to gather some apples. All Joe could find were two apples;
    one apple was bigger than the other, Joe gave Jim the small apple and he kept the big one;
    Jim protested calling Joe selfish and asking him why did he kept the big apple and gave him the small one.
    Joe response was; ‘what would you have done in my place Jim?’
    Jim answered with altruistic conviction; ‘I would have given you the big one and I would have kept the small one’.
    Joe then replied; ‘that is what we have Jim, you have the small apple and I have the big one.

    Joe added; your complaint does not make any sense Jim, yes I am selfish and I have shared with you my food, I did the work of claiming the tree and gave you my gift because you are a person who is my friend and I enjoy your company.
    This explanation made Jim think and he realizing the truth in Joe’s statement replied; ‘I will claim the tree next time then, do the work and keep the bigger apple for myself ’.

    Joe answered; ‘I will not complain when you give me the smaller apple Jim, instead I will be very happy of your generosity for giving me food without me doing the work’.

    Yes, it is a gift when we receive things from others without us having done work for it.
    Remember; share your materials things and your talents, but only with people of same kind, of people whom deserve you, and not with drug addicts, losers or people whom have no respect for life.
    Vincent Sylvan

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