“Don’t be selfish.” A phrase most of us have grown up hearing over and over again. From the temper tantrums we all threw as young children over not getting the toy we thought we so rightfully deserved, to even bigger letdowns as adults, like not getting the internship we needed as a stepping stone to our dream careers. We’ve been taught that being selfish is not the correct way to behave, and that putting others needs and feelings in front of our own most of the time is the way to be in the world we live in.
But at what point in time did we begin to learn that sometimes it’s okay to be selfish in a different sense than when we were younger? I’m talking about selfish in the sense of taking care of your mental health, physical health, and everything in between, in front of someone else and their needs. I guess the answer to that question is different for everyone.
For me, I learned that putting myself first and being selfish is a good thing- probably around the age of 14, after I was horrendously bullied in the eighth grade for everything from my looks/weight, my intelligence, to even the way I talked.
Getting older means owning up to your mistakes, taking responsibility for your actions, and learning how to grow and move on from those situations. But, at what point do we finally stop constantly apologizing for shit and realize that some situations don’t need to be resolved, and that our mental health is more important than the issue itself?
If you’re not being treated correctly, or feel as though you’re unhappy with yourself and your life, that’s when IT IS COMPLETELY OKAY TO BE SELFISH.
The most freeing feeling I’ve ever had, is the day I just woke up and realized I was tired of letting my emotions and other people’s opinions have too much influence in the life I live. There’s no red flashing light, sign, etc, which makes you realize you don’t want to be sad anymore. It kind of happens when you least expect it to. Some days you just wake up and quite frankly don’t give a damn anymore.
You realize your self-worth and how much you deserve to be the happiest you can be, and then you set goals for yourself. It takes work, but after a while you realize you spent so much time being sad, that you kind of lost yourself and all the things you loved about life before.
All of a sudden you can breathe again.
I feel like everyone in the millennial generation falls on one of two sides of the spectrum, either being completely out for themselves, or becoming a doormat to everyone they come in contact with. Which both are completely okay to a certain point!
But- here’s my lesson for all you twenty-somethings out there reading this. If it doesn’t contribute to your mental well-being, move your life forward in anyway, or sort-of drags you down and makes you sad, GET RID OF IT. Toxic things/situations/people, everything. Get rid of it. Set goals for yourself, and do everything in your power to reach them. Once you do that, things kind of just fall into place. Fall in love with yourself again, make a life you’re excited and proud of to live. Once a week, try and do two things that benefit someone else, and two things that make you happy as well. Whether that be paying for someone’s meal, or holding the door open for someone, do it.
For yourself- take the time to do things you love, like finally buying that one item you’ve wanted for a long time, or going for a long run. Put yourself first. There’s always beauty in the darkest times, and sometimes, letting yourself be just a little bit selfish, makes your days brighter than you could’ve imagined.