Growing up, we're taught that selfish = bad, and selfless = good. We're told that putting others before ourselves is what “good” people do, and putting ourselves before others is, well, you can fill in the rest.
But the older you get, the more you realize that nothing is ever black or white – sometimes it's totally necessary (and TOTALLY okay) to be a little selfish.
Putting yourself first once in a while means that you have enough self-respect to invest in your own well-being, as opposed to driving yourself crazy worrying about how your decisions will affect the people in your life.
And while we still (sometimes) love showering our loved ones with gifts and affection, certain life situations call for straight up *doing you*.
Here are 11 times when you need to put yourself first, no matter how it affects the people close to you.
1. When you're itching to make a big geographical move.
Sometimes you get that travel bug and have no choice but to indulge it. Yes, your friends and family will lament about how much they'll miss you, but this is your life, not theirs.
Go forth and wander!
2. When your relationship is going nowhere fast.
Just because you care deeply about your SO doesn't mean that there's necessarily a future there. If and when you realize that you'd be better off single, stop wasting both of your time and cut things off.
3. When you're tired of being the designated therapist of your friend group.
Yeah, you might be an amazing listener with advice-giving skills that rival those of Dear Abby, but it's NOT your job to be on the receiving end of your friends' endless stream of woes.
Set some gentle boundaries so you don't get overwhelmed with other people's problems.
4. When you and your work BFF are eyeing the same promotion.
Going up for the same job as a friend is pretty much the definition of awkward. But if you're qualified, there's no reason not to put yourself out there.
This doesn't mean that you have to play dirty or flaunt your successes, but don't bow out just because you find out you have some friendly competition.
5. When a family member hits you up for money.
Financial entanglements between friends are bad, but they're even worse between family members.
Do the unthinkable and just say no if someone close to you asks for a loan and you foresee it causing future problems between you two.
6. When you're trying to achieve your health goals.
Once you commit to a healthy diet and exercise regimen, don't be surprised when your friends try to veer you off course. Nothing malicious, of course, but they're used to indulging with you — your lifestyle change may seem a little jarring to them.
But don't let them guilt you out of ordering a salad when you're at dinner or turning in early so you can make your 8am spin class.
Come bathing suit season, you'll be glad you stuck to your guns.
7. When your family likes your SO more than you do.
When your picky AF family actually likes someone you're dating, it's easy to find every excuse in the book to avoid breaking up.
But no matter how invested in your relationship they are, not wanting to disappoint your fam is NEVER a good reason to stay with someone.
8. When you're in desperate need of some me time on a Friday night.
Yes, cancelling longstanding plans is a shitty thing to do. But so is neglecting what your body needs. You know yourself, and if you're seriously craving some alone time to recharge from your busy life, then give your body what it wants and 86 your plans.
Your friends might be annoyed at first, but they'll get over it, we promise.
9. When a relationship with a family member turns toxic.
You can't choose the family you're born into — isn't that the truth? But just because you love your relatives doesn't mean you have to put up with toxic or abusive relationships.
If you notice that your interactions with a family member seem to be more negative than positive (no matter how much you try to improve things), take a step back.
Your loved one may be disheartened, but you owe it to your sanity to distance yourself from people who break you down instead of building you up.
10. When you find yourself constantly picking up the tab for your friends.
It doesn't matter if you have a well-paying job or even if you just won the lottery, you shouldn't be expected to be the Santa Claus of your group. Being generous is a wonderful feeling, but that doesn't mean you should be treating everyone on the regular.
So next time, suggest splitting the bill. Who cares if you sound like a jerk? Fair is fair.
11. When your friend sets you up on a date with a dud.
Getting set up by a friend is dangerous territory: Your friend will undoubtedly be invested in you two hitting it off, but if the date is a total disaster, the LAST thing you should do is lie to protect anyone's feelings.
Remember, you don't owe anyone anything (except maybe honesty).
Sometimes doing what's right means making a deal with an evil beast who wants to kill your friends. No biggie, right? Catch The Magicians to see just how far Julia will go to get revenge. Season 2 premieres Wednesday, January 25 at 9/8c on Syfy. Don't miss it.