We live in a selfish world where there are people who would do anything to have things their way; they will manipulate, use, and even destroy other people for their own benefit. All they do is care about themselves.
On the other hand, we have people who spend their entire lives living for others; they do everything to make others happy, they always put others’ happiness and needs before their own. It is a very admirable quality – but in the process, you can sometimes forget to take care of yourself.
After years of caring about what others think, felt, and said about me, I decided to hide in my little cave of words and quotes, and start focusing on myself. I felt selfish, I felt mean – but it helped me personally, and it helped me help others. This is how my life changed when I decided to be “selfish” for once.
1. Having a better relationship with myself allowed me to have better relationships with other people.
I started to treat myself well, and I surrounded myself with people who treated me the way I deserved to be treated – people who wanted me to be happy. I stopped putting up with the downers. I let go of grudges that I had held onto, that were heavy and were dragging me down.
2. I learned that it is okay to be happy.
There will always be bad things in the world, but I cannot spend my entire life worrying and feeling guilty that someone out there is not as well off as me if it’s out of my control. You cannot change the whole world, but you can change how you feel about the world and yourself. I will do what I can to make the world a better place, but won’t beat myself up when I cannot.
3. I realized that it’s okay to want what I want in life.
My family wanted me to be a doctor, my professors wanted me to be a scientist – but I did not know what I wanted. Eventually I realized this is my life, and I am the only person who is going to be with me as long as I live – so I want to choose a career that I love every day. I am still not quite sure what that is, but I’m enjoying the process of finding it.
4. Being selfish made me a better friend.
Before I was constantly struggling with confusion and darkness in my life, but when I started to shed light on myself, I was able to clearly see my friends and be there for them one hundred percent without being dragged down by my own issues. Once I started taking care of myself, I could genuinely cater to my friends. It made me a nicer person to be around. I liked myself more, and at this point, I can finally say I would be friends with me.
5. I became less judgmental.
It is a universal truth that we do not want to be judged, even though we still judge everyone else. But when you take care of yourself and are happy with yourself, you do not feel the need to find faults in other people. You see what is good in others, instead of zoning in on their flaws. Focusing more on myself made me more content. It is all a matter of perspective, and my glass is starting to always look half full.
6. I stopped blaming other people for my unhappiness and for the things that did not go well in my life.
When I was younger and something went wrong, I never had a hard time finding someone else to blame. It was easy to find fault in myself and belittle myself until I could not anymore. I left myself feeling down and unworthy. But when you start to love yourself, and then shit happens, you are more capable of dealing with it. Those horrible incidents that consumed my life in the past, are now a few minutes (or hours) of some tears, wine, and a good talk with a friend. I started to believe that all bad phases are just a phase, and they pass. Everything will always be okay in the end.
7. I started being kind to myself.
I always tried to be nice and kind to others before, but once I started to treat myself with kindness, it became much easier to be kinder to and more considerate of other people. When you feel good on the inside, it is easy to spread that light of happiness to others. Things just look better when you are loving towards yourself and everyone else.
8. Every day is more exciting now.
I have bigger problems now than I did a decade ago, but it’s okay, because I found the strength to deal with these problems while continuing to live fully. Yes, things can get hard and you will want to give up, but when you think about yourself the way you would think about a loved one, you will not give up on yourself. You know it will be tough, but you also know that life is too good to ever give up.
So, call it selfish – I put myself first and took care of myself first – and now the whole world looks more beautiful, every day has a unique charm to it, and I smile more often. There is this calmness inside me that I had never felt before. Not everything is perfect, but I am okay with that. I feel mentally strong. I see the good in other people and I want to believe that there is more good in the world. I can finally say that I have a happy heart. I love seeing the world from this perspective. It’s the best view ever.