As kids, we are taught that being selfish is bad… I remember being forced to share with others rather than them being taught patience or negotiation or deli gown when to make sure they got what I had next, which has created the much-maligned entitlement in younger generations… but that’s another post for another time.
What I’m talking about in this post are the pros and cons of selfishness.
There are upsides to selfishness? you might wonder. Or maybe you said Nope, there are none – being selfish is always bad. If so, PLEASE read & Connie reading all my other posts bc your curiosity & willingness are deplorably lacking.
What is selfish?
It slices two ways:
- Lacking consideration for others; or
- Being chiefly concerned with one’s own pleasure or profit.
That first one is the Way of the Crapbag. That way is for buttholes. Be better than that.
But that second one… there’s something useful with that one. The right kind of selfishness helps:
- Set healthy boundaries
- Accomplish goals
- Make things better for others
If you’re concerned with your own benefit you’re not going to take anyone’s crap. You’re going to have a healthy sense of self, which affects the standards and boundaries you’ll set (and, ultimately, the overall success of your life). Setting boundaries is hella important.
This was driven home, for me, during this past July 4th weekend.
Our neighbors gathered down at the big park, lawnchairs and grills aplenty, and got ready for fireworks.
And the people in our neighborhood luuuv them some fireworks. Actually, they love celebrating anything – they’ve got chutzpah. And most of them make their celebrations into gatherings that lots of others can enjoy. The same went for Independence Day – people were having fun, making stuff explode, whoopin’ it up. And I was reminded of my dad who used his own desire to lit some ish on fire to make us all have fun.
That’s the right kind of selfish, if you ask me.
But then… there were the culos who set fireworks off at midnight… 2am… 7am… inconsiderate people, poorly-supervised kids – who cares who they are. They’re the wrong kind of selfish and I hope they get diarrhea at an inopportune time.
All that’s to say:
Don’t write off selfishness immediately.
Examine when you could do good for yourself by focusing on what will actually do something for you.
Of course, it would t feel right if I didn’t throw in some politics: Good selfishness is something like Marriage Equality that benefits people, works for the promotion of their interests, & makes more things available. Bad selfishness is how the Republicans do: acting to deprive people because of their limited views, totally lacking consideration for others & all the possibilities that exist in life (and a bunch of other things – see: the Scale of Consciousness – but that’s another post for another time).
Here’s another self-centered gif to help you remember who can do well by doing good…