“It’s OK” I lied, “no problem at all. Keep going.”
So the girl I had a massive crush on continued talking… about the guy she had a crush on. She had briefly paused during her rambling outpouring of confused emotion, just to check that I was OK to sit and listen to more. In my adoring worship I merely gave a meek consenting nod and settled in to prepare for more soul-crushing. Some part of me hated myself at that moment. The masculinity lying dormant in my limbic system cried out at the injustice of it all. Having to sit there while the girl I was too afraid to make a move on continued to describe, in detail, her frustrations at not being able to secure a date with some other dude.
My masculinity had finally had enough. Something was very wrong with this picture and had been for some time. For as long as I could remember, I had behaved this way. Not always in the form of giving advice to a girl I liked about how to get a date with another guy (boy do I cringe writing that now!) Sometimes the problem took other forms, like allowing myself to be dragged to a party full of people I didn’t like, or helping someone move house when I had better things to do and fully knowing they would never repay the favor.
I used to be such a ‘nice’ guy.
It took me 10 years or more to figure out what my problem was. Now that I have, my life has improved beyond measure. The problem I had was simple and easily identifiable: I put other peoples’ needs ahead of my own. Not only that, they didn’t even have to ask, I chose to do this. Sometimes I even had to insist that their needs were prioritized. Have you ever done that?
But identifying the problem was only half the battle: the tough part was admitting why I had this problem in the first place. I had somehow managed to convince myself that I was noble, that I was a ‘nice’ guy in a sea of ‘selfish’ people and that somehow I bought light into the world.
Lurking beneath this self-approval lay the truth I didn’t want to admit. Warning: for those of you who are ‘nice’ and know there’s a selfish reason for it – which you don’t want to admit to yourself – you may want to stop reading now. The real reason I put other’s needs first was as simple as it was devastating:
I just wanted them to like me.
I wasn’t actually trying to improve their lives, even though this is what I told myself to justify my behavior. I didn’t actually care about them more than myself. In all honesty I simply wanted to be liked. This was for two reasons which were linked to misinterpretations of stimuli during my childhood:
I was afraid of confrontation because some conflicts I was exposed to as child terrified meI suffered negative consequences for not pleasing people when I was young and spent the rest of my life trying to avoid this
Nowadays, I always put myself first. I am completely and unashamedly selfish. And you know what the funniest thing is? Not only has it significantly improved my life and self-confidence, but the people in my life have benefitted more from me being selfish than when I was putting them first!
How is that possible you ask? Well > are the top 5 reasons why you need to start being selfish, TODAY:
1. Everyone else benefits
You like helping people, right? Well in order to do that best, you have to be selfish. When you put your needs first, chasing your passions and focusing on self-development, then you become a better person. If you put everyone else’s’ needs before your own, you have no time or energy left to better yourself, so you either remain unchanged or get worse. Think of your closest loved ones and dependents. Which would they benefit more from: you improving; you staying the same; or you getting worse?
2. You will love your life so much more
If you want, you can keep on kidding yourself that you put other people’s needs ahead of your own for the ‘greater good’, but we both know that a part of you dies inside every time you do it. Don’t even pretend it doesn’t – you’re talking to an ex nice-addict >! Stress, dissatisfaction, self-hatred and many other soul-destroying consequences come from not putting yourself first. Human beings are psychologically programmed to get their needs met. Being selfish is not bad, it is in fact necessary for survival. And >’s the kicker: the better your life becomes, the more your friends and family benefit. So rather than helping them out in a tired, secretly-grudging way, you can generously contribute to their lives with minimal effort as your happiness and confidence increases.
3. In solving other peoples’ problems, you usually disempower them
Teach a man to fish and he can eat forever. . constantly going out of your way to help other people meet their needs, you are removing a very necessary part of self-development for them: learning through making mistakes and failing. Think of spoilt children, they are the perfect example of what happens when a person does not have to resolve their own problems. They become helpless and entitled, and actually fearful of taking on the world. . helping people you are actually often making their lives worse! If they desperately need outside intervention, then guide them on what they can do themselves (i.e. don’t do it for them), or ever better: show them . role-modeling someone who can meet their own needs.
4. Your self-confidence will improve drastically
Instead of giving yourself away piece . piece, how about a new focus: figuring out your mission in life and accomplishing it. Not only could you possibly have a huge positive impact on the world, something will be triggered in your brain that will boost your self-confidence beyond your wildest dreams. Taking care of your own needs is what you are programmed to do, and your biology will reward for doing so, with confirmation via increased confidence. I promise you, if you put your own needs first for at least a month, you will notice a marked increase in self-esteem. You will also learn to accept that some people will absolutely hate you for doing this. Accepting this consequence goes a long way to an even greater achievement: no longer caring what people think of you. This is the biggest burden I have ever relieved myself of.
5. You will be more successful (no brainer!)
Regardless of how you define success; putting other people before yourself will ensure you NEVER achieve it. Success is always selfish.
Some of you will not agree with this, and that’s OK. Whether you do or not, I have a challenge for you:
Put yourself first for an entire month.
For no less than four weeks, absolutely refuse to put anyone else’s needs before your own. Write out your goals for the month and prioritize these over everything else. Of course, this does not mean neglecting to care for your children, or causing anyone harm. This is simply about putting yourself first. Everyone and everything else must come second. Try it for a month and then tell me you disagree.
I hope you enjoyed reading, Have a great week!
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