10 Things We Consider Selfish That Are Actually Perfectly Normal
If someone calls you selfish, it may not feel like a compliment. But this feature of your character can actually make you a better person, psychology experts say. Psychologists claim it’s in our nature to think and care about our own needs first. This instinct has developed a bad reputation, however, and has become the source of negative emotions, like fear and blame.
Here at Bright Side, we suggest you take a look at situations where practicing healthy egoism can actually let your personality grow and glow.
1. Enjoying your time alone.
Taking time for yourself and caring about your own needs is a very important part of your overall happiness. People who interfere with your alone time may themselves find it difficult to be alone — they may feel bored or unhappy when they’re on their own. But it’s not your fault, and you have a moral right to enjoy your own time if you don’t feel like sharing your “silent hours” with anyone else at the moment.
2. Making different decisions than others.
If you wish to follow your own way that’s different from other people’s beliefs, that’s fine. If you don’t want to get married, have children, or even have a job that the majority of people would consider normal — that’s your choice. If you make that choice for someone else, of course, it may be selfish, but choosing something for yourself just means that you know what you want from your own life.
3. Not replying to people immediately.
While it can be selfish to neglect people who count on you, it’s not egocentric to set your priorities. If you get a text or a call while you’re cooking, it is absolutely fine to manage your tasks before you answer the call. You can call them back — and you don’t have to put everything aside to reply to someone.
4. Treating yourself.
Together with taking care of those close to you, it’s vital to treat yourself, as you should love yourself just as much as you love the important people in your life. While it’s selfish to only care about yourself, you should realize that your happiness is your top priority — so if that extra pair of shoes will make you happy, you probably shouldn’t think twice before buying them.
5. Not living with a toxic spouse for the sake of kids.
People in half-broken marriages sometimes claim that they remain a couple for the sake of their children. They are convinced that their children will be better raised in a conflicted family, saved from the negative impact of divorce. But, as psychologists claim, kids do tend to copy the relationship model of their parents when they grow older, and while divorcing a toxic spouse, we actually not only make ourselves happier but we prevent our kids from suffering and struggling in their relationships.
6. Not always following the “Respect the elders” rule.
Starting from the dawn of time, we got used to relying on older people to gain some knowledge and life experience. Now, with the rapid progress of technology, the younger generation is more educated than the older. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we know everything the moment we graduate from college, but we may want to rely less on our elders in the learning of what we need to know in life, and we shouldn’t be blamed for that.
7. Not being an “ideal parent.”
Psychologists all over the world are unanimous in the opinion that taking care of yourself isn’t a luxury but an essential part of being a good parent. If the typical day of a parent is so full with activities for the kids but at the same time is lacking any of their own, sooner or later this may lead to emotional burnout and even depression. So, spending an extra hour on your own needs is not selfish and it doesn’t mean you are depriving your baby of parental love. It just means that you are working on yourself to raise a happy child.
8. Being childfree.
Many of us grow up being taught that we should have children and that our lives will be incomplete without them. Parenting is a great joy, but it’s best to start it voluntarily, without any pressure or compulsion. This is why a person who doesn’t want to have kids is not selfish or egocentric.
In fact, they are the opposite: people with high self-awareness who are able to ignore all the pressure from other people. They know what they want from life, and strive to achieve their main goals. You should not feel guilty for wanting to be childfree.
9. Taking care of your own rest.
When you’re feeling tired — whether it’s emotionally, mentally, or physically — it’s time to rest. Sometimes, it’s all about getting good sleep. There are plenty of consequences that come with depriving yourself of sleep, including difficulty focusing, a weak immune system, and memory issues. But we often keep going because we may not want to offend other people.
If you’ve been working late and have skipped a lot of sleep, it’s time to find a perfect balance between your work and private life. And if you choose to go home and sleep instead of hanging out with friends or family, that’s totally okay. If that’s considered selfish, that’s not a bad thing at all.
10. Ending a relationship, job, or life situation.
It’s never easy to break up with a significant other, move to another country or city, or quit a job that doesn’t make you happy anymore. If you feel bad when you talk to someone or dislike hanging out with them, it’s time to think over your relationship.
We often proceed with an unhealthy friendship or relationship because we’re scared of hurting someone. But when it comes to relationships that are damaging, sometimes you need to put yourself first. If something has an impact on your well-being, it might be time to say goodbye.
What are other situations you have been in where you’ve been considered selfish, but, in fact, you weren’t? Share your experience with us in the comments.