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Why You Have to Be (At Least a Little) Selfish

As the quarter comes to an end, I’m the type of person that has to reflect on everything that happened. The mistakes I made have to be evaluated, while some of the best decisions I’ve ever made need to be recognized within myself. 

The wisest lesson I’ve learned this quarter is that it is vital to your own identity to realize that sometimes you need to be selfish, and there is absolutely no reason to feel bad about it. The idea of selflessness in our society is toxic, even though I understand that there were probably pure intentions behind it. No one knows you better than you know yourself. No one can read your mind or understand what you need to be happy. At the end of the day, acting selfless and expecting other people to fill the holes you’re giving away is expecting something from them in return. You have to be whole enough to have excess to share with other people.

Nobody else is more important than you. That’s an important idea to keep in mind when going about your day. A constant internal battle I’ve had is learning how to take up space and not feel bad about it. Sometimes, it feels easier to not have an opinion, and let others be pleased. Even though that’s fine, you deserve people in your life that ask for your opinion. It’s okay right now if that person is you, but you have to be that for yourself if no one else will. 

Being a little more selfish has helped me become more empathetic. I understand people better because I understand myself better. I no longer feel entitled to any decision that a person makes because they are doing what’s best for them. I need to do what’s best for me in the same way, and it’s crucial that people understand that. I would never want any of my friends to put my needs above theirs, not only for the obvious reasons, but because that would probably leave them incredibly unfulfilled.

So as the quarter comes to an end, I encourage you to internalize and ask yourself: Is this the person that you want to be? Are you sacrificing parts of yourself and are you meeting your needs? Because if you’re not meeting your own needs, how can you expect someone else to?

Abby is a fourth year at the University of California, Davis majoring in Human Development and Psychology. She enjoys music, spending time with friends, the outdoors, and writing.
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