I’m serious so I will say it again: The key to happiness is being selfish.
Now, stop making selfish a bad word.
Ever plunked a few coins in the Salvation Army tin at Christmas? Why did you do it? Was it because it made you feel good? You are so selfish.
Have you ever given up your seat on the train for a woman holding a child or an elderly woman left standing? Why? Because you would rather sacrifice your seat than watch them stand? Selfish you.
Smiled at a stranger because you think he looked like he’s had a rotten day? Make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when he smiled back? You selfish bitch.
I was like you. I thought it was wrong to be selfish. I wanted to be a giving and kind and caring person. But the reasons I wanted to be a giving and kind and caring person were because I liked how it made me feel and I didn’t like how it made me feel to be a shallow, stingy, cold-hearted cow. And that, folks, makes me selfish and now, folks, it’s something I am okay with.
My choices are mine to make. No one else in this world has control over what I do or don’t do or say or don’t say or go or don’t go. Only me. And I need to make sure that those choices I make are the choices I make for me. Being selfish does not keep me from doing for others, in fact, I have found that it has made me appreciate the sacrifices I make more because I am aware that the choice is mine and that removes future resentment.
To explain what I mean. When someone asks you to do a them a favor, you have two options: do the favor or decline. If you really don’t want to but your friend needs your help and so you do the favor, you’ve made the choice that in spite of not wanting to, you help him anyway. Your choice. Not his. He merely asked a question and you merely answered. You forfeit the right to resent that you missed the new episode of Glee. You could be a jerk and resent that missed episode anyway, but the choice was yours and yours alone. If you let guilt rule you, then you only have yourself to blame. It’s okay to say no. It’s better to say no than to be unfairly upset later for a friend who just asked for your help. If you had said no, he would have figured out something else.
Learning how to be selfish has really opened my eyes to how to make myself happy. If I visit it is because I want to visit, not because you guilted me into it or I felt obligated but because I decided that I wanted to see you and be with you. When I help you move to your new house it is because I want to help. I am happy with my decisions and rest assured I won’t call in a favor because “Remember that time I came and saw you but I really didn’t want to and had other things to do…so you totally owe me.”
No one can make you do something or make you feel some way unless you let them. So get out there and start being selfish. The world would be a better place if we were all a bit more selfish more of the time.