7 Reasons Why Being Selfish Is Good for the World
Yes, it's true -- sometimes it's better if you put 'you' first. Here's why:
TRUISMS AREN’T ALWAYS TRUE
How about these ones? “Pain is gain.” “Everything worth having takes hard work.” “Never take the easy way out.” Or, “Good people always put others first.”
Baloney. Not when it comes to designing your life. Not when it comes to your health. Not when it comes to your happiness.
DOGMA: ALL BARK, NO BITE
There’s too much dogma out there telling us that we have to sacrifice ourselves in order to be good people. There’s too much messaging telling us that the more we give, the more we take a back seat, the more we’ll come first—in other people’s eyes and in helping the world. We see it in the yoga community. Seva (service), anyone? It’s all gotten a bit muddled. Yes, we want to be good people. Yes, we want to do good in the world.
How can we possibly do this without taking care of ourselves? How can we possibly take care of other people’s health and happiness if our own health and happiness is shot?
HAPPY PEOPLE HELP THE WORLD aka 7 REASONS WHY BEING SELFISH IS SELFLESS
Let’s put it this way, courtesy Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project: “Epicurus wrote, “We must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed toward attaining it.”
And “Contemporary research shows that happy people are more altruistic, more productive, more helpful, more likable, more creative, more resilient, more interested in others, friendlier, and healthier. Happy people make better friends, colleagues, and citizens.”
Reason #1. Happy people are more altruistic. They open their doors and kitchens to visiting friends and family, and people they don’t even know. They give things, money, and other useful stuff to charities and people who need them.
Reason #2. Happy people are more productive. They like what they do, so they do more of it, even if it’s for someone else’s company.
Reason #3. Happy people are more helpful. See Reason #1
Reason #4. Happy people are more creative. We can’t create when our nervous system is shot. Stress does that. A calm nervous system is a calm body and mind, and a calm body and mind is open to new ideas, and feels like it has the time and energy to act on them, aka create. Happy, creative thinkers bring new useful ideas to the world: Steve Jobs, Martha Beck, Danielle LaPorte, Oprah.
Reason #5. Happy people are more resilient. If we walk around feeling that some bad thing that will simply confirm our belief that life sucks is around the next corner, we’re a lot less likely to get back up when we get knocked down. If we walk around believing that the next good thing is around the corner, it’s easier to take the hard knocks of life. We bounce back, keep on walking, and help others do the same.
Reason #6. Happy people are more interested in others, and friendlier. Still remember that smile from a random stranger? I do, too. It makes my day. And friendly, happy people who are interested in others make their day. “People rarely remember what you said, but they'll always remember how you made them feel.”-unknown
Reason #7. “Happy people make better friends, colleagues, and citizens.”—‘nuf said.
So what would make you happy today? What would, to use a term Life Coach revolutionary Martha Beck uses, help you feel the “shackles” come off? What would help you feel free? Liberated.
LIBERTY! FREEDOM! SEVA!
Your body knows. It feels free and at ease when you’re making choices that honour your health and happiness. The tension starts to melt. Your stomach, chest, jaw and throat soften. Your breath comes easier and deeper. You begin to show up in the world more authentically, bringing your higher Self, your best Self, and your light is no longer hidden behind tension, resentment and frustration.
You begin to be of service simply by being you. What if it doesn’t matter what picture frame we put on our gifts to the world? What if being a fortune-making corporate copyright lawyer is your true path? What if you are simply here to bring your shining, vibrant self wherever you go? What if that’s enough?
Maybe, you’d be being selfish, or maybe you’d be fulfilling your destiny. And by doing that, by serving yourself, you begin to serve your Self—to the world.