"To thine own self be true." - William Shakespeare
Self-interested vs. selfish
We have to make ourselves a top priority in our life. Yet, many of us feel selfish when we do that. In fact, many words with the word “self” in it have some sort of negative connotation to them. Self-centered. Selfish. Self-absorbed. Self-interested and selfish are often used interchangeably. When many of us are thinking of ourselves in a situation, we pause and make sure we are not being selfish. Actually, we should think of ourselves in a situation where we have to choose between ourselves and others. We should think of our own well-being. Acting in our own self-interest is crucial to our survival both emotionally and physically. Weren’t we put here to survive? Thinking of yourself, then someone else does not make you selfish. For me, self-interest and self-preservation go hand in hand. Choosing ourselves and choosing others is a balancing act. Here are 3 questions to consider when choosing between ourselves and someone else:
1. Is my yes to someone else no to me?
Is that yes putting you in an uncomfortable situation? Will it lead to you denying yourself something that matters to you in the moment? You have to remember you always matter in the equation. Be unapologetic when it comes to setting your boundaries.
2. What will my yes to someone cost me, and am I willing to pay that cost?
If your yes to someone else costs you time, resources, or something else of value to you, is it something you can do without? If that cost to you is your well-being or happiness, that’s when you have to act in your own self-interest.
3. What will my no cost someone else?
If someone is on the verge of losing their life, livelihood, or something else precious to their survival, then, of course, you don’t say no in that situation. However, many times, we feel pressured to say yes even when a situation is not even close to being dire.
Being your truest self
Our lives are a direct result of the choices we make. When we consistently choose the needs of others over our own needs, we are devaluing ourselves. How does that affect our life? Have we really preserved our true selves or the version that makes others happy at the expense of our own happiness? Have we made ourselves happy just as much as we have made others happy? When we have that balance, we have our truest selves.
Until next time... look behind and beyond the veil...
Sameena K. Mughal, Author, Freelance Writer