Being selfish is not necessarily a bad thing. The reason being almost every act committed by almost every one of us is a selfish act. This theory may not be sound convincing at once, but if we dig a little deeper, we can reach the roots of it and prove that indeed it’s the truth.
Selfishness is generally defined as an act which involves thinking only about oneself and catering for one’s own need, without taking into consideration the prospects of others associated with it. This definition can be broken into two parts, the first one being ‘thinking about oneself’ and the second being ‘without considering others’. Here we will only be taking into account the first case, which can also defined by the phrase ‘not being selfless’. There is a fine line between ‘selfish’ and ‘not being selfless’, which you can easily spot in the definition mentioned earlier in the paragraph. Now the question here is how can a person who works on such principles can be a nice person.
Let’s see how that’s possible.
Every action of ours is in the direction of experiencing either of the three emotions — happiness, pleasure and satisfaction. When you give a loaf of bread to a homeless guy, you might think of it as a selfless act, committed only for the help of needy. But it’s actually the satisfaction of helping the poor and that pleasant feeling of you being the reason for his happiness and full stomach is what drives you deep inside, to do such a thing. If it was not for that feeling inside, you probably wouldn’t have committed such an act.
In cases where parents cater for the needs of their children without thinking about themselves is again a channel through which they receive pure happiness. It’s that pure feeling which mostly drives the act of giving. Such things cannot be termed as selfless deeds, because the thing what we get in return is something very special and pure. All of this may sound a little harsh, and bring down the value of all good deeds, but it’s a fact. And that is why I said that being selfish is not necessarily a bad thing.
If such kind of pure emotions is what you strive for, then there can be nothing more wonderful than that. It is when you start deriving utter pleasure from acts of giving and helpfulness, it’s completely fine being un-selfless. In fact it is the selfishness associated with these acts which keeps you motivated and pushes you for doing more.
It is okay to be selfish when your priority is morality.
Originally published at medium.com