Being called selfish is a nasty blow. Socially speaking, the idea of ​​being selfish is taboo: it’s something we should strive to avoid at all costs. Being called selfish means you have no consideration for others, putting your own pleasure and gain before those of others. Yet this term can often be used as a weapon against us, to induce us to do things for others, even if it may be to our detriment.

Can selfishness be good?

Selfishness is not always bad. According to experts, selfishness can be healthy, while altruism (selfless concern for the well-being of others) can become extreme and unhealthy.

Healthy selfishness can be linked to higher levels of psychological well-being, the development of skills needed to effectively cope with the demands of our environment (adaptive functioning), as well as the development of behavior that is genuinely purposeful. helping others (prosocial behavior).

What is healthy selfishness?

Healthy selfishness is having a healthy respect for one’s own health, growth, joy, freedom, and happiness. This may mean: using boundaries to help you define and refocus on your needs and those of others. By setting boundaries, we can not only refocus on our own needs, but also create the emotional bandwidth needed to refocus on those we love and care for.

For example, by refusing to attend a work party on Friday night, you know you’ll likely feel exhausted and overwhelmed, and you can reserve that energy for spending time with friends and family. This type of “healthy selfishness” means that you put yourself and those closest to you first, using your time and energy to get things done and support those most dear to you.

You can introduce new boundaries to help protect your emotional health and well-being. Having healthy boundaries means you can open up to people and share your intimate or vulnerable thoughts, but it also means you’re able to say no sometimes.

While healthy selfishness can have positive aspects, it can also have negative aspects. Kaufman’s Healthy Selfishness Scale shows that negative behaviors like vulnerable narcissism (eg, oversensitivity to rejection) and toxic altruism (eg, helping others out of self-interest, rather than sincerely wanting to help ) can also be linked to selfishness.

What does healthy selfishness look like?

Healthy selfishness can be practiced in different ways. Here are some examples of healthy selfishness:

  • Set healthy boundaries
  • Make self-care a priority (meditation, healthy eating, physical exercise).
  • Have respect for yourself and don’t let others take advantage of you
  • Find a balance between your needs and those of others (rather than prioritizing others over your own needs).
  • Knowing when to give your time, energy and attention to others, and when to step back and recharge.
  • Give yourself permission to enjoy things without having to help or do things for others.
  • Take care of yourself
  • Giving priority to your plans, desires and desires rather than the demands and desires of others.

If you have high self-esteem, are proud of your accomplishments, feel competent, have a good general sense of well-being, and are satisfied with life, this may be a sign that you put your needs first.

When is it okay to be selfish?

It should be more acceptable to be selfish once in a while, and we should strive to normalize it. If you’re struggling to recognize when practicing healthy selfishness is right for you, it can be helpful to keep in mind when being a little selfish can give you a significant boost. For example :

  • If you feel like you don’t have time for yourself, taking the time to do what you love can significantly contribute to your overall well-being and energy levels.
  • If you’re feeling burnt out, prioritizing relaxation over overtime, taking on more responsibility, or even doing general household chores can help you feel rested, rejuvenated, and better prepared to face future challenges.
  • If you’ve taken sick leave, don’t feel guilty and focus on healing yourself, eliminating stress and tension, and your own well-being, which will help you rest and recover more. quickly.
* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.