This year I was told that I am at the point where I can be selfish in my life, that there would be no better time. This thought scared me. My whole life I had been taught to consider others first and that selfishness was an ugly trait.
As I took time to process the idea of being selfish, I realized it made sense. I identify as a full-time college student with a part-time job who finds comfort in relying on themselves.
This sentiment remains true in all aspects of my life. To explain it further:
School is a personal commitment. I choose to put time and effort into my academics in a way I feel is best. The degree I work toward and what I learn is an investment in myself and the future impact I aspire to make.
I am fortunate to have a job that provides me with an opportunity to extend my independence. However, when I clock out, I leave the responsibilities of the office to do whatever I choose with my time.
Lastly, I rely on myself emotionally and find peace in the idea of being self-sufficient.
These factors don’t dismiss the value of commitments to friends and family, my morals or an impulse to put others before myself. Instead, my current position allows me the opportunity to choose myself more often and with freedom. Selfishness is an option, and it's not always the wrong option, despite what society has told us.
We believe putting ourselves first means disregarding others when it is quite the contrary. We won’t be able to truly help others if we are not taken care of first. You can’t support others with an overworked and fractured body. An excess of selflessness will only perpetuate the negative implication of selfishness we all know.
We’re willing to put love, energy and time into relationships with others but believe ourselves to be less than worthy. If you’re willing to go out of your way and help a friend in need, you have to be open to giving yourself that same consideration. Making decisions that will help us revive ourselves will ensure that when someone else needs our energy and love we can give it to them unconditionally.
The statement that I can be selfish wasn’t promoting overindulgence but instead asking that I try not to shy from it at a time where choosing myself and choosing others isn’t a rigid line. Selfishness is powerful, but there will be a time when our choices are entangled with others and the line becomes clear.
So take time, build selfish habits and protect yourself so you can protect others around you.