“It’s OK” I lied, “no problem at all. Keep going.”
So the girl I had a massive crush on continued talking… about the guy she had a crush on. She had briefly paused during her rambling outpouring of confused emotion, just to check that I was OK to sit and listen to more. In my adoring worship I merely gave a meek consenting nod and settled in to prepare for more soul-crushing. Some part of me hated myself at that moment. The masculinity lying dormant in my limbic system cried out at the injustice of it all. Having to sit there while the girl I was too afraid to make a move on continued to describe, in detail, her frustrations at not being able to secure a date with some other dude.
My masculinity had finally had enough. Something was very wrong with this picture and had been for some time. For as long as I could remember, I had behaved this way. Not always in the form of giving advice to a girl I liked about how to get a date with another guy (boy do I cringe writing that now!) Sometimes the problem took other forms, like allowing myself to be dragged to a party full of people I didn’t like, or helping someone move house when I had better things to do and fully knowing they would never repay the favor.
I used to be such a ‘nice’ guy.
It took me 10 years or more to figure out what my problem was. Now that I have, my life has improved beyond measure. The problem I had was simple and easily identifiable: I put other peoples’ needs ahead of my own. Not only that, they didn’t even have to ask, I chose to do this. Sometimes I even had to insist that their needs were prioritized. Have you ever done that?
I just wanted them to like me.
I wasn’t actually trying to improve their lives, even though this is what I told myself to justify my behavior. I didn’t actually care about them more than myself. In all honesty I simply wanted to be liked. This was for two reasons which were linked to misinterpretations of stimuli during my childhood:
I was afraid of confrontation because some conflicts I was exposed to as child terrified meI suffered negative consequences for not pleasing people when I was young and spent the rest of my life trying to avoid this
How is that possible you ask? Well here are the top 5 reasons why you need to start being selfish, TODAY:
1. Everyone else benefits
You like helping people, right? Well in order to do that best, you have to be selfish. When you put your needs first, chasing your passions and focusing on self-development, then you become a better person. If you put everyone else’s’ needs before your own, you have no time or energy left to better yourself, so you either remain unchanged or get worse. Think of your closest loved ones and dependents. Which would they benefit more from: you improving; you staying the same; or you getting worse?