Defending Selfish Behavior

I imagine the title of this post will be polarizing to many. After all, what possible justification can one have for behaving selfishly. All I ask is that you read the rest with an open mind.

I was listening to an interview with a famous actor last week, and in it, the actor stated that many of us would be better off if we behaved a little more selfishly. He admitted that his is a minority view, and even his close friends and family who he talks to about his view equate convincing others of it to pushing a boulder up a mountain. Regardless, his view resonated with me, and I am going to try to make my case.

I believe that happiness must come from within. If you are not innately happy, no external forces can make you happy. This includes money and all the things it can buy or the love of others. The visual I have is that if you are already without happiness, there is a void inside of you that acts as a black hole. And unless you seal up that void, every external bit of happiness gets sucked inside and does nothing to fill the void.

That is why it is important for us as individuals to take time for ourselves. First, we must know ourselves. We need to explore our dreams. Our emotions. What brings joy to us, and what takes it away. We need to make sure that we have goals that we are working towards which align with our values and bring joy.

After that, we need to be intentional about carving out that time for ourselves. This reserving of time and space likely needs to be done with a partner or your family. Outline some windows where you can get this time so you can be the best version of you. This shouldn’t be too big of an ask if these people love you and you articulate your needs. The goal is to give a little and gain a better you in return. (And ideally, the people in your life get their own blocks.)

After that, it is on us as individuals to deliver. Don’t squander those blocks of time with distractions that lack meaning. Be intentional about what you are going to do during your time to further your own goals. Plan it out ahead of time. After all you made the agreement, so honor it for yourself and those in your life.

This is what I mean by being selfish. We all need to recharge ourselves. We need to create the time and space for the activities we need to remain sane. And then jealously (and yes, selfishly) defend those time periods. Only by being a little selfish from time to time can we become the best version of ourselves.

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