From a young age we are being taught to be selfless. To consider the feelings of the people around us and put them before our own. Selfless people are likeable, always nice to be around and they just make our lives a little bit easier.
But are they happy?
Some of them certainly are. I am not saying there is no happiness to be found in helping others. Especially the people that are close to your heart deserve to be treated the best way possible. But there is a limit to how much selflessness is good for you.
If you cannot say no and are always thinking about what others have to say, you won’t be successful. Even worse, you won’t be happy. If you have a dream that you want to turn into reality, it needs to become your top priority.
So what can you do to get that negativity out of your life and focus more on yourself?
There are three aspects of your life that deserve to be put first. Becoming more selfish with them will change the way you feel and perform in your everyday life.
1. Be selfish with your body
This is the aspect of your life that you need to be as selfish with as possible. Your body is a temple. You will live with and in it until the day you die. The state of your body determines how active you are, how much energy you have to achieve your goals and how you feel on a day-to-day basis.
How can you become more selfish with your body?
Be conscious of what you put into it. Don’t finish a plate of food when you are already feeling full. Don’t fill your engine with greasy snacks and sugar-filled soft drinks. Buy fresh ingredients, learn to cook for yourself and know what you are putting into your body. You are a person, not a garbage can, so keep the junk away.
Keep it fit and healthy. Make exercising a part of your daily routine. Rely on your body to get around, not on your car. You don’t have to become extremely lean or thrive to achieve a certain body type. Simply make sure that your body gets enough exercise to make you feel good in your own skin and be ready to face your daily challenges.
Pamper yourself. Wellness and relaxation are as important as working out and eating clean. Don’t let anyone tell you that going to the spa, getting a massage or enjoying a beauty treatment are unnecessary luxury. No, your body goes through a lot, your mind goes through a lot and you deserve to just unwind and feel refreshed from time to time. Make it a daily habit and just give yourself 5 to 30 minutes before you go to bed that are dedicated entirely to making your body feel great.
2. Be selfish with the people surrounding you
The people surrounding you are a reflection of yourself. So why waste time on someone who drags you down?
I am sure you have heard it many times already, but it is essential to have a positive environment if you want to be happy. You know what isn’t helpful? Being around people who are always complaining, don’t strive to improve themselves or aren’t interested in you or your struggles.
Cut them out of your life.
And if you cannot do that – I am thinking about family members, colleagues and classmates – then cut them out mentally. Don’t listen to their negative influences and focus on the good people in your life. The ones that are actually there for you, are like-minded and always push you to become a better version of yourself.
Don’t tell me there is no way for you to find such people. Trust me, there is always a way. Find a local community that you feel connected with, join a club or try to talk to people that you always run into, but never got a chance to meet.
Besides, we are living in the 21st century. Online communities are almost as important and can be as inspiring as the people physically next to you. You can be connected with anyone in the world in an instant. Look for people who share the same passions as you or have similar problems. Or maybe go and find someone from the other end of the world who is completely different from you and who you would have never gotten the chance to meet in real life. Connect and learn more about this world.
There is value to be found in any encounter. Make the most of them.
3. Be selfish with the things you buy
The things surrounding you are like the people surrounding you. You encounter them on a daily basis and they influence the way you feel and the way you act.
That is why you should be conscious of your possessions. Look around your room. Is it filled with items that inspire you and bring a smile to your face? Is it organized and kept clean so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by chaos? Does it reflect your personality and show who you are as a person?
If not, then it’s time to change that. Throw out stuff that you don’t actually like. Get clothes that you feel comfortable in. Decorate your space so that you feel protected and delighted every time you come home. Buy things that bring you happiness and that will last you a long time.
Sometimes this means going for the more expensive option.
And that’s okay. If you are working hard you should be able to treat yourself. After all, no one can tell you what to do with the money that you have earned yourself. You want to spend it on a fancy new designer bag? Go for it! If it really makes you happy then there is no reason why you shouldn’t do it.
This one item that you have worked for and have bought with your own money will give you more happiness and a greater sense of value than any cheap alternative you could settle for.
Following these rules will get you closer to your dreams. More importantly, they will get you closer to yourself. It is easy to lose track of who you are and what you want. That is why you need to know what you want to achieve and dedicate time to make it happen.
I want to stress at this point that I am not promoting becoming an entirely self-centered person. I strongly believe in kindness and compassion, but I have met so many people that do not know how much better they deserve. I am talking about inspiring people that are stuck in bad relationships or don’t live up to their full potential.
Just know that it is okay to say no sometimes. It is okay to only want the best for yourself and to put your own needs first. No one will like you any less simply because you love yourself and are taking your well-being into your own hands. And if someone really does have something to say then he or she doesn’t deserve to be in your life anyways.
Be proud. Be fearless. Be selfish and don’t settle for less than what you deserve.
Author: Cornelia Wagner
Writer, College student and blogger who is currently experiencing life in Tokyo. At Harajuku Smile she writes about her experiences living abroad as well as her daily thoughts and observations.