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Healthy selfishness is a responsibility on you.

Selfishness is always looked down upon. The word has a negative connotation and the moment someone accuses us of being selfish, we shrivel and shrink. This is because as human beings we are supposed to live as a tribe and look after the needs of the tribe members and not just look after our own. It is true that we do look after the needs of people around us. But it is equally true that we need to look after our own needs too. Here distinguishing between Healthy selfishness and unhealthy selfishness becomes critical. Unhealthy selfishness is when you look after your needs alone at the expense of other people’s needs. Unhealthy selfishness is characterized by hurting others through words, actions and attitudes to get what you want and deliberately neglecting the needs of others around you.

Healthy selfishness, on the other hand, is looking after your needs that don’t affect others in any way. Looking after your health is a primary concern here. When you look after your health by exercising regularly, looking after your diet and eating what suits you, going for your medical check-ups, having healthy habits of hygiene, you are exercising healthy self-care. How does doing any of this affect others? It is your right to look after your health. By taking precautions and not falling sick, you are doing a service to those around you. So this can be characterized as healthy selfishness if it is to be called selfishness at all.

In the same manner, looking after your growth is your concern. Anything that supports your growth, joining a new course, taking up a new hobby, learning a new skill are all paths towards self-growth. If you don’t do that who will? Again your growth does not interfere with anyone’s life around you. So you cannot let anyone object to that. This is again healthy selfishness.

In a similar manner, your happiness and joy (from indulging in gardening, reading, music, eating things of your preferences, talking to friends, having many minor experiences through the day, volunteering) and working for greater freedom in your life (financial freedom, emotional freedom, reducing responsibilities), are all thing that concern only your life. As long as any of these do not impact others, it is healthy selfishness and practising such acts of self-care is a gift you give yourself and to those around you.

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