Learning to be Selfish

5 Jun


I’m trying to learn to be selfish.  I’m sure that sounds strange.  My entire life I have been a giver, someone who gives up my own wants and needs for others.  I was raised in a strict religious household.  I was taught that there is no higher purpose than to sacrifice yourself for another, as Christ did.  Just writing that now makes me want to go throw up, but it was beat into my head (almost literally).

In many ways my giving nature has made me a good person – compassionate, willing to listen, and nonjudgmental (as a side note, I’m not sure how I got that when my #1 biggest complaint about religion is all of the judging).  When I love someone I will do everything in my power and then some for them to have their needs and desires fulfilled.  I get a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction from that.

The negatives of that trait are that my giving can get out of control easily with someone who is a taker.  My ex was definitely a taker.  He took everything I had and then demanded more, while simultaneously giving me very, very little in return.  Being someone who doesn’t know how to say “No” to the people I love has at times exhausted and drained me. I have found my own needs ignored, and I’ve been complicit in that.

I do NOT want that to be my pattern again.  So I’m practicing selfishness.  There are negative connotations to the word, but looking out for myself, thinking of my own interests, and putting my happiness first sounds like just the change of pace that I need.  In fact, I even have a plan for learning to be selfish, courtesy of http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Selfish.  Here’s the easy five step process:

  1. Discover what selfishness is. 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.
  2. Find out what makes you happy.  Having things that make you happy is the key to being selfish.  Do what you love, value things, be a happy person.  When you have discovered what it is that makes you happy, follow it.
  3. Succeed in a certain area.  Success is a primary component of being selfish.  Being successful means that you have dedicated yourself to something that makes you happy and have followed through on it.
  4. Stop sacrificing.  Don’t sacrifice unless its for something else that makes you happy.  If you sacrifice, then you lose something that you value, something that makes you happy.  You’ll never live a full life if you live this way.
  5. Understand the parts other people play in your lives.  Remember, they are people, just like you.  People are often an essential component to a selfish life.  Having someone that you value and whose company you find enjoyable, your self finds a value in them.  If you are in love with someone, that person is of value to you.  To quote Ayn Rand, “In order to say ‘I love you’, you must first be able to say the I”.

I’m not sure where exactly I am on this list.  I think probably way back at #1.  Thinking of myself still seems unnatural and odd.  I’ve got a toe into #2 as well.  I am trying to discover the things that make me happy.  So far I think I’m doing a pretty okay job.  I can already tell that #5 will probably be the hardest for me to conquer.  I guess that’s why it’s at the end, though.  I’m gonna take it one step at a time, one day at a time.  And I’m going to practice treating myself as well as I treat other people.

This weekend I made pretty good progress on doing things that make me happy.  Friday night I stayed home and watched The Hobbit.  I’ve been wanting to see the movie, but never seemed to be able to find the time or concentration.  I’m glad that I made time, though, because it was a fantastic movie!  Saturday I got tickets to a Tim McGraw concert from my boss, complete with VIP access and a private show.  It was phenomenal.  Then Sunday I got to go to my favorite event in the city, a food festival where the top restaurants offered $3 tasting portions. I stayed busy, and I stayed smiling.  Here are some shots from those events (I was rocking hats and fun style all weekend, and I was in a pink frame of mind):


The best part of the weekend was waiting for me Saturday night (actually Sunday morning) when I got home:

IMG_20130602_241459_298Yay!!!!  One step closer.  No, they aren’t THE papers, but they are very, very close.  Now Chris has to actually sign the damn things.  Relying on an incredibly irresponsible person to take care of something even as simple as that isn’t as much of a given as it should be.  Whenever the hell he decides to do that the papers will be submitted to the court.  Then I will have to wait for yet ANOTHER man to sign them.  Hopefully within the next month that will be complete and I will officially be a single lady again.  Woot woot!!!  I can’t wait!



16 Responses to “Learning to be Selfish”

  1. Tobey July 28, 2014 at 7:06 am #

    You very well be my guru!
    I’ve spent my life “giving” to the point where it’s not “giving” anymore.

    • beautifulmess7 July 28, 2014 at 7:22 am #

      Yep. It is a difficult habit to break because people get trained to take advantage of you. When you start finally putting up healthy boundaries they will resist and you will feel like you’re in the wrong. Stand strong on what you need to take care of yourself.

  2. Kym January 22, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    Thank you for these thought. I have given much to someone i considered a good friend. Would put her needs before mine always. Realized that she was not reciprocating the friendship and that i was more of a security blanket for her to be comfortable in her skin. So last thursday i said no. I had a really rough day and just wanted to go to yoga and stay in the rest of the night. This friend attacked me for not wanting to do what she wanted and was upset that i would not succumb to her pleadings to go out for the night. I took a stand and finally put me first. Guess that means the people who cannot respect or honor my needs too are going to fall away. Opening me up to something closer to my heart.

  3. smittenwithhim June 6, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    The wikihow list is cool! Do we have to do it in order? Because I think I have #2 & #3 down, but I will have to work on #1 & #5. I thought that #4 was interesting because sacrificing when I don’t want to can cause serious resentment towards the person I’m making the sacrifice for — so I will work extra hard on that one 🙂

    I love giving, though. It’s very rewarding for me, kind of in a selfish way even — it just feels good to give to the people who care about me!

    You are such a gorgeous lady! I love when you share your pics 🙂

    • beautifulmess7 June 6, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

      I don’t guess you have to do it in order if you’ve already got some of it down.

      I know what you mean about giving sometimes feeling selfish because it is so rewarding. I am the same way. However, sometimes the people I give to can take too much and push it to far. Then I end up resenting and disliking the very thing that makes me happy. What a cycle!

      Thanks for the compliment. I’m pretty average, but I do clean up alright. 😉

  4. Ben June 6, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    Hahaha, I can totally relate! I’m a giver by nature and so get taken advantage of all the time… it is really hard to pivot away from that and take care of me more. Good luck to you!

    • beautifulmess7 June 6, 2013 at 10:47 am #

      Yes, it is a hard task to accomplish. I’m trying, though. 🙂

  5. Samantha Baker June 5, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    I know personally how much of a giving person you are. I love you for it. But I agree, you must be selfish! Choose who you wish to give to and make sure that those you choose are willing to give back to you as well! Don’t loose that giving part of you completely though, just…be picky about it! *wink* That’s where I think the key lies.

    Ok, I’m not much of a country music fan, but…Tim McGraw is a yummy yummy man. YUMMY. I saw those pics this weekend on FB and I was like OMG OMG I’m SO Jealous!!!!! Those tight jeans! LMAO!!!!


    And the food! *swoon*

    I’m glad to see you taking care of YOU! That’s what you need!

    I’m still waiting for the divorce partay!

    • beautifulmess7 June 5, 2013 at 8:56 am #

      I think that’s where #4 comes in – “Don’t sacrifice unless its for something else that makes you happy.” It makes me happy to give to people who I care about, who appreciate it, and who give me something in return, even intangible things like friendship and support.

      The way things stand now my personal divorce party may be in Florida in July. 🙂 I have a company convention down there that I’m extending into a vacation, and my divorce is on track to be finalized the week before I go. This girl is gonna do some serious partying down there!!!

      • Samantha Baker June 5, 2013 at 9:01 am #

        WHAT??? You better have a party when you get back here! I’m just saying!

  6. Katerina June 5, 2013 at 6:28 am #

    I’m twice your age and I’m learning from you!

    • beautifulmess7 June 5, 2013 at 7:12 am #

      I certainly don’t have it all figured out, but I’m happy to share what I discover along the way.

  7. the invisible woman June 5, 2013 at 3:25 am #

    yes, yes! Time to be selfish! i need to learn to do a bit of that too – perhaps i should just look at the teenagers around me, they have yet to learn to be unselfish!


  1. Cash Cow | smittenwithhim - June 12, 2013

    […] it looks like I need to work harder on that list of yours #4 is going to be the death of […]

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