When we say that we think of ourselves, we are often labeled as selfish by those around us. But what does it actually mean to be selfish? Perhaps we are using this adjective in a wrong and, above all, unjust way.
Today we want to reflect on this word, its meaning and also how we can devote time to ourselves without feeling guilty.
To be selfish means to always think of yourself without considering others
In order to understand what it means to be a selfish person, I suggest that we take a look at the Duden together. The definition in Duden states that an egoist is someone who is only concerned with his own benefit, only pursues his own interests and acts selfishly.
Each and every one of us follows individual thought patterns based on our values and more or less fixed opinions, so that we can understand the world and get an idea of how it works. And as a result, our thoughts arise. Therefore it is not surprising that every person uses this word differently because of his experiences and because of how he defines the word “egoism”. In other words, each of us has our own idea of what it means to be “selfish”.
For some people, being selfish means never having done anything for others. In extreme cases, it is believed that a person is selfish because they were not done this favor, which they had asked for time constraints, even though they were always there for that person when he needed them. In the first case we might agree with the definition, but what about the second case?
How do we feel when someone calls us selfish without considering all the good we’ve done for them so far? Of course, we feel bad, confused, angry, and wrongly treated. Before we go any further, let’s be clear one thing: once we’ve turned down a favor for a person, it doesn’t mean we’re selfish.
“We do not find true happiness in egoism.”
We cannot change the mindset of others
There is a situation that repeats itself over and over again: someone asks us to do something for them and we cannot do something right now. This person then calls us selfish or implies that we are selfish, which makes us feel bad, not just because we are judged, but because we get into a conflict of interests because we have chosen our own interests.
So who is acting selfishly here? Who just thinks of themselves without considering the rights we have as human beings?
We don’t have the resources to change the mindset of others. That is, if someone thinks that we are acting selfishly and does not even want to understand our circumstances, we can ask ourselves two questions:
- Were we compassionate about his problem?
- Even if we are currently unable to comply with the request, have we offered an alternative?
If you can answer both questions in the affirmative, then you should always remember this fundamental freedom that each of us has: We have the right to refuse a request without feeling guilty about it.
Also, we shouldn’t forget that if we subjectively judge a person’s personality for any behavior, we humans are making a big mistake. For example, a person can act mean without being mean, or someone can be cold without being cold-hearted.
To better understand this, let’s give an example. Imagine getting up at the same time every day. You do all of the activities you need to do, and by the end of the day you have all of your duties to do. Now imagine that one day you slept 15 minutes longer than usual. For some reason, you couldn’t do all of your chores, and in the evening you found that you hadn’t done all of the things you were asked to do.
Is that why you are an irresponsible or undisciplined person? No, you just had a bad day and it is possible that you did not show as much discipline that day and maybe you did not act as responsibly. But just because you didn’t finish your work on time doesn’t make you an irresponsible person right away.
We have to distinguish between acting and being. It is not the same thing to be an unjust person and to act unjustly. We have to analyze behavior and not people.
Enjoy a gentle breeze, but don’t let the wind carry you away
Do you feel like you don’t have time for yourself? Do the people around you keep thinking of things that they need you for, and are they distracting you from your goals? Do you give too much time to others? Do you feel like you are a leaf in the wind? We need to find time for ourselves and therefore we should have a basic skill, namely to say no without feeling guilty.
Yes, this is a difficult and complex topic, so we cannot follow strict rules on how to do it, but rather it is more about working on this ability. If you are one of those people who is always there for others and puts your own concerns aside, here are some things you should know:
- Change is a process. Once we are used to certain things, it will take time, patience, and effort to change them. Usually our habits are linked and it is usually not possible to replace a single link in the chain. For example, if we want to work on our charity, we need to be able to communicate well. When we just kept quiet before, that skill wasn’t necessary.
- Those around you may not understand. Your fellow human beings may well be surprised the first time you turn them out, when they have gotten used to you always completing their requests. They might even blame you for having changed or for being a selfish person. At this point it is important that you don’t forget what you want for yourself. Remember that there will always be someone who doesn’t like your change, especially if that change means that it will be a little more uncomfortable for that person.
- Always analyze a situation objectively. If the request is not urgent, you do not have to comply immediately, if you have shown yourself compassionate to the other person and offered them an alternative if this is compatible with your activities and goals. You don’t have to feel guilty about anything.
So thinking about yourself is not selfish if you know how to keep your balance. If you actually work on this part of yourself without paying attention to the various meanings of selfishness in our language usage, you will be able to devote time and energy to others fairly and also to find time for your passions, activities and dreams.
“Never put yourself in the role of victim. You shouldn’t accept how others define your life. Determined about yourself. “
5 signs you are being selfish and how you can change that
As humans, we are programmed to look after ourselves … >>> More