The Daily Aztec

Why there’s nothing wrong with being selfish

by Jermelle MacLeod, Contributor

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Selfishness is a damned concept. The concept of putting yourself before others is taboo and often times looked down upon. We’re constantly being told to put others before ourselves and other people’s interests before our own, but by doing this, we lose ourselves.

Let me tell you why:

It’s in our nature to be selfish. And this is extremely important. We must take care of our needs before we take care of the needs of others or else our mental health deteriorates.

You must be selfish to become who you are because the instant you lose sight of your goals due to the opinion and views of others, is also the instant you will lose your true self.

For example, you want to become a lawyer, but your parents want you to become a doctor. Many of us can relate. The pressure becomes too much to handle, and we give in to our parents wishes, because …well, they’re our parents. They’ve loved and provided for us for as long as we’ve been alive. So, we throw away our own dreams and obey our parents’ wishes.

Sound familiar?

In some cases, we end up doing what our parents want, but I encourage everyone to be selfish in instances like this. Do what makes you happy, and what you truly believe will help you grow.

Here’s another example that might help. Imagine you have a test tomorrow but your friends want you to go out and party with them, and you really want to go to that party. Some of you might say, “Well, if I really want to go, then technically… I am being selfish by going!” On a base level, you’re correct. On a rational level, you’re far from it.  

Selfishness isn’t only about blind impulses, it’s about doing whatever it takes to advance yourself.

Your selfishness must be rational or else you will be making foolish, primal and insitical decisions that hurt you more than help you.

Let’s return to the example I posed — If you are thinking rationally about your selfishness, your thought process will be along these lines, “I want to grow, I want to get a job and thrive. If I attend this party, I risk getting a bad grade on a test because I’ll be too tired to study. I value my goals and my ideals so much that I’m willing to deny a few hours of pleasure, for what could quite possibly be a lifetime of success.”

This is called, “rational self-interest,” or rational egoism.

Rational self-interest means being reasonable about your goals and how to achieve them.

Notice the word, “rational” in the title. This is extremely important, because in order to be selfish you must be able to act in your own self-interest rationally.

Without rationality you will be acting impulsively, but calling it selfish, which in the end, will hurt you more than help you. Selfishness is all about personal gain and doing whatever it takes for you to thrive.

It’s not easy to act in your own self-interest, and when you do act in your own rational self-interest, you will find that you are making selfish choices without knowing and people will notice a change.

But,  there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

When looking at selfishness in this light, it’s clear that selfishness is necessary for one’s own mental stability, and it’s important that we come to terms with this.

It is okay to put ourselves first.

It is okay to say no to something that doesn’t help us grow or evolve.

It is absolutely okay to be selfish, as long as it’s rational and beneficial to our growth.

The faster we accept this concept the quicker we thrive.

I’m proud to be selfish.

Are you?

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