Are you selfish?
Probably. I know I am.
Is being selfish always wrong?
The term “selfish” has a bad connotation, and sometimes rightfully so. Part of the definition is “lacking consideration for others”. But if you are one of those people that sometimes lacks consideration for others, then guess what!?
You are normal!!
I don’t particularly like to use the word “normal”, but for this instance I want to use it to make sure people understand that we’re all selfish. We have to be. That’s how we literally survive. How we learn what makes us happy.
Being selfish is how we sometimes make mistakes and learn from them.
But the other part of being selfish means to be “concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure”.
If that’s what selfish is, then yes, dammit, I am one selfish human being. Because you know what? No one is taking care of myself other than me. So ya, you better believe I am selfish.
Who puts in hours of work a week to make money for me to live off of?
Who provides the food, clothing, and shelter required for me to survive?
Who is the only person responsible for my happiness?
I feel as if I am stuck in this society where it’s not “cool” to do things for yourself because “How dare you!?” You mean to tell me that you have dreams and desires different than mine, and if I pursue my own dreams and desires that you somehow feel personally attacked?
I don’t mean to sound angry or bitter, but maybe I am a bit. Writing seems to bring out the truth.
But especially as a woman, and a whimsical woman for that matter, I am quite independent. And I’m not referring to the “I’m a strong, independent woman and I don’t need no man” kind of woman.
Like, I’m actually independent.
I support myself financially 100%, I travel alone, I go out to eat and watch movies alone, and I am extremely content (and even excited) to do so.
BUT, a woman who knows what she wants is a threatening woman to a lot of people. Why? I don’t know. I mean, I have my assumptions, but assumptions are not always the truth.
My point is that I have been selfish a lot and it’s ruined many relationships of all kinds. And that truly breaks my heart. But I absolutely have no regrets. You know why? Because as I said before, I AM paying MY bills. I am the only person I can rely on to literally SURVIVE. And surprisingly, most important to me, is my HAPPINESS.
I am the only person responsible for my happiness. Not you. Not my boyfriend. Not my parents. But ME.
This means I have made some selfish decisions because I was solely concerned with my own “pleasures”. Now, I truly believe you can be selfish and still be considerate of other people. It’s called tact.
I have not always been tactful (as some of you surely know), but I genuinely try to learn from all of my mistakes (slow and steady, Jennifer, slow and steady).
I have also had family, boyfriends, and friends be quite selfish and I distinctly remember only getting mad at the times where I felt as if I was being used or manipulated or completely disregarded. But there were times when my loved ones were doing something selfish and were able to communicate their reasonings to me, and despite how much it would hurt me personally, I actually respected them.
I would think, “Wow, you know what you want and you are going after it.” How could I not respect that kind of a person? I am drawn to passionate people and I have nothing but admiration for others who think they can be a better person tomorrow than they are today. And sometimes that vision has nothing to do with me.
And sometimes that means getting hurt in the process. Call me crazy, but I will gladly be hurt to see the people I love succeed. I am not the center of other people’s universe, nor do I want to be.
What better gift can we give others, than the ability for them to be who they truly are and live in such a way that reflects that?
I went and saw a play last night called Fun Home. Without getting into too much detail, it’s based off a true story about a young girl and her relationship with her father, and as she grows older she realizes she is gay. Turns out, her father is also gay. The young girl, who is now in college when she comes out as being a lesbian, has a much easier time accepting who she is than her father does with himself. He is married (to a woman), has children, yet is having affairs with men. Later in life he then steps in front of a truck and dies. Was it an accident? Did he kill himself? Was he so unhappy with not being able to live the life he wanted and therefore thought death was better than living a lie? Who knows. That’s not for me to say. But here is a great example of where being selfish was potentially a positive thing. This man’s wife was constantly getting hurt because her husband was choosing other people, men in particular, over her. This man’s children, specifically his young daughter, believed they needed to fit a certain image because this man knew first-hand what it felt like to be different. Maybe life could have been better for them all if he would have been selfish and COME OUT. To let everyone know the truth, to let everyone grieve, then heal, then move on. Who knows the kind of life this whole family could have lived if one man could feel brave enough to be selfish?
However, I have been disappointed a lot by selfish decisions so this concept is easier said than done. But I truly believe all situations, whether intentionally good or bad, will align themselves in just the way we need.
I have dated a man who has cheated on me. Tactful? No. Selfish? Yes. Am I still hurt? No! Was I hurt when it happened? YES! But hopefully he learned from his mistake. That’s all I can really ask for as this point. “Please don’t do that to any one else. Please let me be the one woman you really screw up with. You nearly ruined how I viewed my worth. My image. Am I really not enough? Or were you just being selfish?”
NEWS FLASH! He was just being selfish, everybody. So we can all calm down. Ya, it was wrong, but for whatever reason he felt like he needed to do that in that moment and I forgive him. No, we will never ride off into the sunset together. I’ll leave that spot for another woman (good luck lady), but I do forgive him. He really disappointed me. I lost respect for him, which is the saddest part I think. But it was a good life lesson for both parties.
People are going to be selfish. Sometimes it’s “bad”, like being cheated on. But sometimes, I feel like it’s been good. My first boyfriend, or more appropriately, my first love, made a selfish decision but I fully understood it and am still glad he made that move. It broke us a part, but it needed to happen.
The real crux here is I have disappointed others. “Mom, dad, sister, I applied for a job in Hawaii for when I graduate. I will be living a 10 hour travel day away.” “Boyfriend, I want to move, which means we will be long distance, which means we probably won’t work out.” “Friends, I will no longer be here for when you have marriage problems and need a friend to drink wine with and vent to face-to-face, nor will I be here to meet your baby and see his first steps.” I am sorry to disappoint all of you.
I am sorry for being the reason the dynamic of our relationship will forever be changed. And maybe for the worse.
But I need to go live my life the way I want it to be lived.
This means that I need to be selfish. To my family, to my friends, to my boyfriends, even to my coworkers, I need to do what makes me happy, because I am not worth anything if I am here solely to please you.
This means if my dream job is across the world, I am going to be selfish and GO.
This means if I want to spend Christmas in Munich, Germany and experience an incredible culture, I am going to be selfish and will not be home for the holidays.
This means if I need to end a relationship because I am losing myself and all I want from life, I am going to be selfish and see my way out the door.
Being selfish is sometimes the ONLY WAY to save ourselves.
So yes, I say it is OK to be selfish. To the couple stressed out with children, it’s OK to be selfish and spend some money on each other for date night, leaving the kids with a babysitter. DO IT. Re-charge. Re-fuel. Re-connect.
It’s ok for mothers to spend money to go get their hair done and not buy a tenth toy for their child. Because that new hair-do will make you feel flawless and damn right sexy. GO BE SELFISH.
To the single friend who desires travel and adventure more than an engagement ring, GO GET ON THAT PLANE. Go grab a backpack and fill it with clothes and cameras and a passport. Go be selfish and learn who you truly are, not what others want you to be.
There is a lot of resistance going on today, mainly political which bleeds into social aspects. But I resist people telling others how to live. It’s not going to work on me and I don’t think it should work on you either.
Do not tell me what I need to believe in. That is up to me to decide. Do not tell me how I should live, because you’re not the one waking up in my body every morning. Do not tell me who I need to support, because you do not face the same demons that I face. I decide all of that for myself.
I am selfish.
I am selfish so that I can live. Genuinely, authentically live. I refuse to take my one chance at this life and be miserable because of you. (No offense and all.)
I am selfish because I am currently living a life I thought could only be a dream.
I am selfish not only for me, but because it also makes me a better person for you and our relationship, however that looks. It allows me to be real, honest, loyal, transparent, and passionate. That’s who I can be when I am being selfish. I know what my needs are. I know how to meet my needs. Therefore, I can tell you how to meet my needs and then try to meet yours. It’s quite beautiful, actually, when I demand what I want to be taken seriously. And what’s beautiful, too, is that you can have your needs met as well. Be taken seriously, be happy, and be selfish. It’s the only way to live with no regrets.
With love and hopes of adventure,
Jennifer Mabus, The Whimsical Woman