There is a difference between selfishness and being self interested. The former means that you are perhaps taking away, or withholding something back. Where else the latter means that you are aware of the resources available around you and work towards maximizing that.
Understanding self interest is the key to understanding motivation.
Self interest is knowing that you deserve happiness. Selfishness is robbing people of their happiness and inflicting pain, just to get that happiness.
You may have been stuck at some facets of your lives, because people told you that your wanting of being promoted, married, loved and happier were not in line with the norm. They probably told you that you were being a self indulgent jerk/bitch for expressing those desire. And because you somehow allowed those opinions to sink deep in your cognitive processes, you allowed compromises to happen.
You said things like,
“It’s okay, my time will come…”
“He/she deserves it more than me…”
“God is fair. My happiness will come soon…”
And then you breeze through life not fulfilling your absolute potential. All because someone insinuated that you are being selfish.
But here’s my take on why I believe that you must align your interests in serving your best self. Being self interested.
- Everyone acts on their self interests. Even wanting somebody else to be happy is an exercise in acting on your self interest. Because you know that when you see someone is happier because of you, you feel happier too.
- No one will want to admit selfishness. Everybody will paint themselves as a victim of circumstances when they are pushed to a corner. Selfishness is the other flip side of making choices.
- Self interests are compelling. People will be moved an inspired if your intentions and actions are aligned with your self interests first, and at the same time appealing to their self interest too.
So how can you start being more self interested?
Do things differently…
- Quit thinking that people share your beliefs and values system about reciprocity in relationships.
- Decide that you are no longer gonna be people serving. Quit being at the end of people’s criticisms and judgments
- Selfish people are selfish people. Stop expecting them to change.
- Engage proactively so that you can own the outcomes. Avoiding engagements is not optimal.
- See your self interests objectively and be rational about it.
- Honor your emotions and self worth.
- Assertiveness is a key social skill to learn and apply. If you cannot be assertive about what you want, you will never get what you want.
- End relationships with lazy and selfish people. They are chronically dysfunctional. You will not be productive with baggage.
- Develop strategies of engagement from selfish people if you are expecting personal attacks.
- Be consistent and grounded to your beliefs and principles.