“The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.” — Ayn Rand
Without being loyal to our own needs, it is very difficult to truly help others.
From a young age, we are taught to extend ourselves to others, to share, and make the world a happier place. It is undeniable how very important this is. Given the state of the world, acts of kindness and generosity cannot be understated. However, it is possible for us to keep our own needs in mind without sacrificing this.
In fact, being selfish might just help the world be a better place.
Unless we live happy and fulfilling lives, we will not have much to give others.
In fact, the less we take for ourselves, the more we need up needing from others in the long-term. It’s an endless cycle that results in guilt, lack of confidence, and resentment. If we only live for the needs of other people, we end up becoming burnt out and unhappy. We are given a certain amount of energy, and if we don’t invest it in ourselves, it’s hard for us to be good friends or family members.
Doing things for ourselves makes us stronger and more independent.
Being always readily available for other people can feel strong, but that need is also one of dependence. The best way to become the most authentic versions of ourselves is to journey into our own solitude every now and then. This does not mean to become a recluse, but rather to develop an unbiased understanding of our own needs, wants, and boundaries.
This will make us more resourceful and confident people, thus better equipped to support others.
We learn to help others for the right reasons.
Being kind and generous is a good habit to have, regardless of the motives behind it. However, when we allow ourselves to be self-centered for a limited period of time, we are able to reassess our values and goals. When this happens, we begin to extend ourselves to others, not for an ego boost or to alleviate guilt, but rather to share the sense of freedom and inspiration we have given ourselves.
We can inspire others.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. -MaimonidesIt’s true that
It’s true that some people never quite learn how to care for themselves. Without the guidance from others, they feel lost or incapable of managing things on their own. When we let ourselves take a step back and attend to our own desires, it sets an example for others to do the same.
We become more connected.
By becoming more self-serving and independent people, our relationships become surprisingly stronger.
This allows love and trust to grow in our friendships, as they become more authentic and less about more ego-driven needs. It seems backward, but by becoming more selfish, we give things to ourselves that we no longer need to ask from others. The mark of a strong friendship is the ability to be autonomous beings, yet still able to come together.