Opinion: Self-love is not selfish

Mica Pflug

Like all things, selfishness can either be a nuisance or an advantage, depending on how it is executed.

An advantage? How could selfishness be a good thing?

Although this may seem like backward logic, as something that might turn out leaving friends and family more ticked at you for being a jerk than they are happy for you for being proactive with life decisions, there is a way to go about selfishness that can improve the well-being not only for yourself, but for those around you.

I’m no personality expert, but I do know what it means to be a jerk. The ultimate extreme of acting selfish is putting your own wants in front of people that care about you.

Are you going to throw a fit and stomp your feet because you want pizza for dinner and everyone else wants Thai food? Probably not.

Your choices would be: Convince the rest of the group to get pizza, settle for some delicious Pho or just get a pizza for yourself, none of which are bad options or would pose friendship-destroying consequences.

However, concerning certain aspects like mental well-being, physical health and wellness, along with respect to emotional health regarding friendships and relationships, these things often call for occasional self-centeredness.

While the demand for selfishness extends to these areas, it is equally important to distinguish between a negatively-charged selfishness, which exists purely to make a situation better or easier for yourself, and that of simply prioritizing your general and personal well-being.

If someone you love isn’t treating you fairly, you have every right to speak up and demand respect.

If someone in your school or work career overlooks you or makes a judgement based on something that doesn’t have to do with your performance, you have every right to stand up and make them see your true potential.

If something is going in a direction that you decide you don’t want to follow, you have every right to change your mind.

In some cases, personal growth is more important to consider than the desires of people around you.

Of course, every situation is different, and it is crucial to consider the causes and effects of your actions, as well as what consequences those actions might bring.

However, one of the most influential aspects of your career, relationships and personal health will be the decisions you make regarding yourself.

In these cases, it’s OK to be selfish. It’s OK to want to be happy, healthy and successful.

It’s OK to cut a thing or a person from your daily life if they are bringing you more harm than good. It’s OK to quit a job or switch a major if it isn’t making you happy.

It’s OK to spend a day in bed if you’ve had a stressful week and just need some time to recharge.

It’s OK to put yourself first, and sometimes it’s necessary to do so.

Mica Pflug is a columnist. Contact her at [email protected]