The truth of the matter is that none of us gets to where we are alone. We’re the products of everywhere we’ve ever been and everyone we’ve ever known. So with that established, the Blog Off this week wants to ask, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

When I was in high school and going through what was labeled teenage angst, an employer/adopted dad figure gave me the best advice at the time that changed my life.

Succinct, he said: Be Selfish*.

 

What? I was confused. My value system didn’t allow me to be selfish. How would I do this? I’m sure somewhere in this thought I can add, “sharing is caring” — right? Well, not exactly. He explained what he meant: I had my heart opened to all and even if I lived my life to please others I seemed to be getting no where. He told me that in order to change my situation, which involved my living situation, I had to do whatever it was to get out. I had to do this based on what I wanted.

With that, over the years I did some pretty selfish things. I left my country when my father disapproved, got an education from an institution that he didn’t understand, took loans to maintain that education, took that job that I wanted (he still doesn’t really know what I do). Choose the career path I wanted. Through the years, I do not regret a thing.

Why?

By being selfish  I was able to connect to many people. Exactly what I wanted to do in the first place. I had to be selfish to put myself in a situation where I can help others. I’ve been able to do this wholeheartedly over the years.

I’m still living life quite selfishly but aren’t all humans selfish anyway? We all have that instinct for survival. There’s one crucial thing that comes up when people meet me: Why do I always seem to be happy? Simply put, I chose to be that way. By the way, remember that someone always have it worse than you do and you really have nothing to complain about if you can’t seek to save yourself.

Selfishness is not using others, or making them serve you, or removing yourself from people. Selfishness is being primarily interested in your own goals. Selfishness has nothing to do with other people – a selfish person who hurts others is a contradiction in terms. A selfish person is concerned with their self, and has no need to hurt others.” Learn how to be selfish.

I want to enjoy life to the fullest so when I reflect on it I will be happy about all the memories. Also, by taking care of myself and finding my dreams I can show others that they can do the same. It’s in their control. By the way read my Attaining Happiness post if you’re lost.

*By the way, I do follow the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. So I’m not entirely selfish. I do hate when people compare selfishness to greed though. It’s not the same. I just love me. I care about me. I care that me – the body, hurts. Since if I am unhappy, I might create a negative impact on others. Before I can love someone I have to care about the “I.” The “I” who would love to share that same  happiness that she enjoys daily. With that said, I need to read more Ayn Rand.

istockphoto source

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3 Comments on “"Imma’ do me"”

  1. Selfish is good. Selfish means you will have enough of you to help those around you when they most need it.

    I think our culture equates selfish with cruel. Cruel is doing for others what they should be doing for themselves.

  2. Thanks for the new perspective on selfishness! Especially the part about how it doesn’t mean hurting others, which I think is the common understanding.

    This reminds me of the best parenting advice I ever got (can’t recall now where it came from), which said to put yourself and your loving relationship with your partner if you have one at the center. This way you have something to give your kids, instead of making them the center of your world and having nothing left on which to stand.

    I just signed up for Let’s Blog Off–love the way it’s bringing me to new blogs to read.

    @BarbChamberlain

  3. Pingback: Thank you John | Design Lady NYC

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