11 surprising reasons being selfish can actually make you happier

When I talk about selfishness, I’m talking about the good kind.

The one that makes you more selfless, because you know what it means to water your own cup first. 

It makes you glad to fill another.

Only a contradiction on the outside, here are 11 surprising reasons being selfish can make you happier.

1) You become more authentically generous

Some people’s generosity comes from a place of obligation and guilt. 

It’s usually something that was modeled for them to do, meaning people aren’t always conscious of it.

And it isn’t because they were specifically taught how to feel guilty. Sometimes, it’s because they were never taught how to fulfill themselves.

So the unfamiliarity feels like the perfect space for guilt and shame to live.

But when you are selfish with your time, energy and resources, it allows you to give without feeling guilty when you aren’t selfish.

There are so many different kinds of cups you can fulfill within yourself, let’s talk about some of them.

2) You have better time management skills

What I’ve learned about time management is that it’s not about learning how to fit the most in your day to day and getting things done.

It’s really about being present and making the most out of the things you enjoy. 

Think of it like saving money to buy something you’ve had your eye on for months, instead of buying a bunch of things just because they were on sale.

You can’t be everything to everyone, that’s not your responsibility. But it is your responsibility to be somebody you can lean on.

And the first step to embodying that is to find what makes you feel at peace when you’re alone.

3) You avoid unnecessary dramas

Before I learned how to be happiest when I’m alone, I found myself in the middle of everyone’s drama.

Partially because I wanted to help them, but also because I was surrounded by people who also had a hard time being alone.

So when I became responsible for my own happiness, I decided I’d rather be happy and alone. Instead of being unhappy with everyone else.

As they say, misery loves company. You’d be surprised at how peaceful your life becomes. 

Sure it might feel boring at first, but you can bring the spark back in your life by investing your time and energy back into yourself.

4) You become more abundant

This one seems a bit obvious because of course you become more abundant when you keep more to yourself!

But the way you become more self-sufficient is a bit unexpected because it’s a mindset, not something that’s tangible.

As you invest yourself differently, you open yourself up to more opportunities that match that energy. 

Because you are declaring what you will put up with and won’t.

It’s almost like you’ll get what you want, if you can be brave enough to admit it to yourself.

5) You become more attractive

surprising reasons being selfish can actually make you happier 1 11 surprising reasons being selfish can actually make you happier

Again, in a literal sense if you are the type of person to indulge in the material pleasures of life. Which is nothing to feel ashamed of!

But you will also become more attractive in an energetic sense.

As they say, fortune favors the bold – sometimes all you need to do in order to get what you want is to make yourself available to it.

And what’s more magnetic than someone who likes themselves? What’s more intimidating to all the wrong people than to value yourself? 

Notice all the ways being selfish protects you. 

How it brings you peace for your overall health, and closer to people in alignment with you.

6) You develop a secure attachment style

Speaking of bringing you closer to people in alignment with you!

It may take some time to discover what a healthy relationship looks like between 2 selfish people.

Unlike an unhealthy relationship, it would never require you to sacrifice your authenticity or boundaries. 

So instead of walking on eggshells second guessing yourself, your energy will be allocated to ensuring your happiness takes priority over the success of the relationship.

There’s not a lot of room for insecure attachments when you could care less about how someone can fill the cup that you actually prefer filling on your own.

7) You get comfortable with setting boundaries

With yourself and others.

When you decide you’ll no longer overburden yourself with the emotional needs of others, you will have to get used to being unavailable to some people.

This level of detachment will feel uncomfortable at first. 

You might feel guilty for not putting in enough effort and fear abandonment. Or you might feel like you don’t deserve all the affection you receive.

But those fears are just coming up for you to release them – this is not the time to disregard all the work you’ve done for yourself. 

Remember how you got here – it wasn’t by defining your life for what you can do for others.

If you have to force anything, it’s not for you.

So don’t worry about having to live up to everyone’s ideas of you, that’s no longer your narrative.

8) You become more patient

Don’t think of your boundaries as rejecting someone, but rather as a preservation of your values.

With no room to compromise what matters most to you combined with an ability to be peacefully alone, what is there to lose?

Along with a healthy level of detachment, this is the perfect time to reframe and think more logistically.

Like can you really afford to pour your energy into everyone that comes across your way? 

Patience is truly a virtue! It demonstrates a high level of self-awareness and standards.

And being a good person isn’t the absence of bad. It’s the presence of effort and dedication.

Stay patient long enough to meet someone that not only understands that, but is also a living example of it themselves.

9) You become more present

Aforementioned, self-awareness is a natural byproduct of being real with yourself about what you want.

And I find that being present brings so much tranquility into your life because you are no longer relying on distractions to keep your sanity.

Nor are you subconsciously repaying the debts of your past by pouring from an empty cup in your present. 

Combine all of that together and you create an environment in your mind where you make more conscious decisions. Decisions that remind you of your sovereignty.

It may not be super noticeable at first, but your confidence will grow exponentially with time.

You won’t care about what other people think of you, and the way life rewards your perseverance with peace will be enough to keep you going.

As you own your magnetism, don’t be afraid to embrace the way you inspire others to do the same.

10) You feel connected to your true purpose

Your purpose can be a lot of different things. But one thing’s for sure, it shouldn’t exhaust you beyond your control. 

A lot of people’s idea of a purpose involves them proving others wrong. While a little bit of vengeance can be fun, it’s not sustainable enough to be a way of life.

When you are selfish, you’ll have a different perspective on who you want to be on this planet. It won’t involve how other people digest you.

Because all of this work has required you to deal with your pain and no longer identify with it. 

Pain that taught you to allow everyone but yourself to define you. So why motivate yourself through it?

Therefore your happiness and purpose will be rooted in how you can better understand yourself. 

What that means and how it materializes is up to you.

11) You have a unique perspective on life

Healthy selfishness has granted me the ability to think for my highest good. Which required me to zoom out and see the world more objectively.

Because when you take the futility and impermanence of life into consideration, certain acts of selflessness seem so selfish.

They were to temporarily fuel someone’s ego and my importance in another person’s life. I surely wasn’t thinking of their highest good and ability to pour their own cups.

Especially when we live in a world of instant gratification, the way you live won’t always make sense to everyone.

But I like to think of life as something that everyone deserves to make sense for themselves. So sometimes, letting people misunderstand you is the most selflessly selfish thing to do.

To be so unbothered, yet so aware – what a contradiction. 

It doesn’t get any more unique than that.

Being selfish won’t exempt you from life’s highs and lows.

But it does feel a lot less lonely when you have a best friend within you that never fails to show you how capable you are.

And I like to believe that being aware of that is what differentiates a selfishness that inspires, versus one that demeans.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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