Being Selfish Is Good for Your Health

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When I was a child, my parents taught me that it’s good to share. I was often made to share my things, my time, and my talent with others, rather I wanted to or not. I agree with my parents that it is nice to share; however, I also believe there’s a “but” that goes along with that. It’s nice to share, but not at the expense of your health or your peace.

Do you find it disturbing that there’s a theory called the Airplane Oxygen Mask Theory, which tells us we must take care of ourselves before we take care of someone else? Why isn’t it a natural reaction to put ourselves first? Well, because we believe putting ourselves first makes us selfish, but, it makes us smart. Oftentimes, we give of ourselves, even when we don’t want to, because we don’t want to be criticized, but over the years I’ve learned that no matter what you do, someone will have a problem with it, so learn to be true to you. To your heart. To your mind. To your wellbeing. The pressure of being everything to everyone is causing stress. According to WebMD, along with stress comes stress-related illnesses. For your own good, here are a few instances when you should consider being selfish.

  1. When there’s someone in your life who’s zapping all your positive energy. I know it’s hard to think about being selfish with your time, especially when you’ve always been told to be there for others, but for health purposes, that rule cannot apply to everyone. Your body is the best indicator of people you should distance yourself from as much as possible. If that person calls or comes around, and your mood instantly changes, that’s a clear sign that you shouldn’t be around this person. Anything that causes your body to react differently from normal, could cause stress on the body, according to the Trusted Guide for Mental and Physical Health. This person can be a coworker, a long-time friend, or even a family member. You don’t have to be mean but find a way to protect your peace. Do you and your body a favor and learn how to love certain people from a distance.
  2. When you’re the reliable one. It feels good to know people can depend on you until it no longer feels so good. There are people who will abuse the fact that you’re a person of integrity and will work hard to get things done. You’ll find that you’ve become the go-to person for handling things. This role isn’t bad, but it can become stressful if you allow people to pile more and more things on your already overloaded plate. It’s okay to say no and politely decline. I won’t lie, everyone won’t respond well to your change, but understand that this is for your health. Do what you can to help people, but don’t allow anyone to abuse your gift.
  3. When you’re starting to lose yourself. In a romantic relationship, it’s so easy to lose yourself and over time morph into who your mate wants or needs you to be, even if it’s not who you desire to be. I’ve seen so many instances where one person put aside their dreams and poured themselves into helping their mate build theirs. It’s okay to be supportive and helpful, but not at the rate of sacrificing your purpose. Many people suffer from depression because they’re not true to who they really are and what they truly desire. There must be a balance, and you must remember that even in a relationship, you’re still an individual with your own needs. Be there for your partner, but don’t forget to be there for yourself.

We only have one life, and the worst thing you can do is allow stress to shorten it. Be helpful, be giving, be kind, but when it comes to your health, at times, you must be okay with being selfish.

References:

Stress, Symptoms, Signs and Causes: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-symptoms-signs-and-causes.htm

10 Health Problems Related to Stress That You Can Fix: https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/features/10-fixable-stress-related-health-problems#1

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