The Art of Selfishness“You’re so selfish!” Usually when people say that, it’s meant to be a slight, but being selfish is not always a bad thing. In fact, being selfish is a good and necessary thing at times.

 Being selfish, putting your needs and your best interests first, makes a lot of sense.  Much of that horrible dating/relationship advice geared towards women has that whole “You don’t have a man because you’re so invested in your career” line in there somewhere. Yeah, because a 20-something year-old college-educated woman should totes not focus on paying her bills, growing as a professional and learning about herself.  Go bake some cookies for goodness sake!

And even once you get older and maybe you do settle down, get married and have kids, you still have to do you. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to be the best mom/wife/partner you can be if you’re running on empty 24/7.

As a freelancer and recent divorcée with no kids, I’m all about that selfish life, son.  Somebody has to take care of me and it’s me. Now is the time for me to build, build and build some more.  I’ve learned the art of saying “No” even to myself sometimes when I let work overwhelm my life.  I was getting migraine headaches and saying “Yes” to everything a couple months ago. The solution? I spent a long weekend in the Bahamas solo.

I got a lot of “Must be nice” comments as if I was using dollar bills for toilet paper. But it’s not that I’m balling out of control, it’s just that I see the upside of investing in my sanity. I needed that trip and it provided the reset button I didn’t realize needed to be pressed. If that’s considered selfish, I’ll be that. * Redman Voice *

Of course balance is key, hence selfishness being an art. I do think it’s important to put yourself first, but it’s also a must to take care of your people (fam, friends, lovers) and pay it forward.

But the next time someone calls me selfish, I’ll just say “Damn right.”


Demetria Irwin is a New York City-based freelance writer/editor. Follow her on Twitter, @Love_Is_Dope.

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  • Pseudonym

    Putting your needs and self interests before others is not being selfish. What “selfish” entails is you pursuing these things to the detriment of others.

  • I agree with this article. But, a new term I like to use is that I over nurture myself. I make sure I get my “me” time. I also buy myself birthday and Christmas gifts.

    • Ramamurthy

      I do agree with your comments.

  • I can see why so many women are single and bitter in their 40s.

  • jazzyjo

    Valid points but…

    When does “it’s all about me me me and more me become too much?” I do agree that people should always invest time in attaining personal goals but sometimes our overindulgence in self eventually leads us to even deeper mental and emotional emptiness. Don’t be fooled by pop culture’s mantra “selfishness will make you happier.” In fact, based on many published research, America is very independent, free-spirited, tolerant and educated, but yet has a significantly high rate of unhappy and clinically depressed people. If you want to find happy people — ones who don’t depend on antidepressant to get by, they’re in countries where personal relationships and a sense of community are priorities.