Being selfish is not all bad

We are always taught to be selfless and put others before self. This is one lesson that transcends religion, nationality, time and age. If you are a mother, it is always the child before self. For a father the family comes first. It is a universally accepted norm, but does it always ring true? Can you always deliver the results when you put others before self?

I have recently viewed a short video of Jubril Agoro, where he talks about how we need to be take time out for our self before we can help others. Here is the video, watch it and tell me if it is true.

I have felt the same way for quite some time, but I was ashamed to think like that. I felt that one cannot give peace to others when they have none in their mind. One cannot give joy to others when they feel none in their heart. It is essential to keep our stock of peace and joy filled to the brim, so that we can share and dispense some to others. Though my mind agreed with this idea, my heart always felt that being selfish was wrong and blamed me of being a bad person. I felt that I have no right to enjoy peace when my friends or family  were in distress. It felt like a betrayal of loyalty and friendship.

It took me a long time to realize that, though I would smile and laugh for their sake, my laughter was hollow and the smile lacked the joy. This applies to everyone. We all push our self to the limit and beyond thinking of others. We however, fail to notice that our loved ones can see right through the facade.

When I say that we need to be selfish, it only means that we are not being disloyal when we enjoy our day. We need not push all joy and enjoyment away because others are unhappy. We need to take a mandatory 10 minutes of personal time every day to just laugh and breathe peacefully. As the video suggests, in a situation of emergency, first put on your oxygen mask before you help the person next to you. If not, you are of no help to that person or yourself.

I know, some of you might say, how does it help others if I take time out to relax? The answer is simple really. Only when you are relaxed and calm, will you be able to take the best decisions and understand the problems correctly. If we are as worked up as the person next to us, then we will only add to the chaos. To be that one sane voice that calms the crowd, one should be sane in their mind. Believe it or not, when we pretend to be happy, we are fooling no one but ourselves.

So, how do we go about relaxing in a chaotic situation?

  • One sure shot way is to remove yourself from the situation and have some alone time to breathe and reflect.
  • Take daily break for 30 minutes to watch a good comedy that makes you laugh.
  • Start your day by counting your blessings, however small they may be, rather than checking your to do list.
  • Pick up any small hobby or pastime that is close to your heart and allocate a fixed time for it, on a regular basis. The hobby could be drawing, coloring, crafts, walks, gardening etc.
  • Try to see the comedy in every situation. It might be a difficult task, but not impossible. It will make any situation bearable when you can laugh at it.

All these ideas are there to help you to help yourself. Because, only a happy smile can spread joy, a forced or false smile never helps.