Why You Need To Be Selfish Now So You Can Be Selfless In The Long Run

by Paul Hudson

You can be both selfish and selfless -- we all are. No one is an entirely selfish person, just like no one is an entirely selfless person; we’re all somewhere in between. We may be selfish in some areas, yet almost completely selfless in others.

When it comes to everyday life, complete selflessness is a death wish. People would take advantage of you until there is no more of you left to take advantage of.

Of course, it’s important to give back to society, to teach others by example, but we have no choice but to remain selfish in order to survive.

When we’re talking about our personal lives, however, selflessness is crucial. Whether it comes from friends, family or partners, nearly all the people present in your life expect you to care about them simply because they care about you.

Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to regulate our selfish habits. Most of us aren’t able to realize how selfish we are until the damage is already done.

These selfish tendencies help us understand the importance of being selfless.

You always make sure you get your way.

You know what you like, and you prefer the certainty of knowing you’ll be satisfied over risking the possibility of being disappointed.

The thing is, when it comes to those you love, there's plenty of disappointment; it’s part of the deal.

Sometimes people will surprise us, and other times they'll fall considerably short of our expectations. People won't always live up to the standards you wish they would.

Selflessness, though, is about risking disappointment, risking being uncomfortable and risking being less-than-happy.

Being selfless is about giving things up for another's benefit. It’s difficult to find a reason to be selfless… until you find yourself in a difficult situation.

Whether it be a loved one who's tired of you never being willing to try the things he or she enjoys, or an instance in which you find yourself on the receiving end of complete selfishness, you’ll learn to give things up if it also means the people closest to you are willing to do the same.

You need an exaggerated amount of “personal space."

What it ends up translating to is you wanting to have your secrets. It's what personal space really is: having absolutely no eyes or ears on you.

We all have a need to get time away from scrutiny -- to feel as if we are completely alone with ourselves. All the relationships we form throughout our lifetimes become extensions of us.

When we’re younger, we want our personal space with a bit too much enthusiasm. We have this great need for independence, so what we often end up doing is pushing the people closest to us away.

At some point, we've all pushed our parents, siblings, friends and partners away because we've felt the need for some extra breathing room.

It’s important to get the space we need, but at the same time, it’s important we don’t forget to make room for the people we love.

When it’s too late, you’ll wish they were still an extension of you and not a distant memory.

You always protect yourself and never allow anyone in.

There’s physical space, and then there’s mental space, and we aren’t always fond of immediately letting people in for the latter.

Over time, people build up psychological Kevlar to protect their egos from the outside world.

We screen people, often making quick judgments of their character. We hold back our emotions in order to avoid any sort of dependence.

We try not to get too close to people because people expect us to open up to them when they open up to us.

Sometimes we get angry at people for sharing their lives with us, knowing they’re expecting us to do the same. Sometimes we just want some solitude.

Or at least it's what we believe we want. Solitude is great… as long as it’s by choice. When you have no one in your life to listen to your problems, you’re going to find life difficult.

If we psychologically distance ourselves from those closest individuals in our lives, we'll inevitably find ourselves alone at a time of need.

When you really need help and either have no one to turn to or realize you need to turn to those whom you refused to open up to, you begin to understand just how much people need one another.

Not just for physical support, but for emotional support as well.

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