Can a Selfish Person Truly Be Happy?

self·ish
ˈ
adjective
(of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.
Someone told me the other day that they have come to the conclusion that they are just a selfish person. We can all be selfish at times…it’s part of human nature.  But to decide that it’s part of one’s intrinsic personality and accept that, is something I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around.  Are we born selfish and just learn to be loving and giving?  Or do we turn selfish due to our environment and experiences?
I am blessed to have in my life many loving, generous, giving people.  I also know and have known quite a few selfish people. And in each and every case, the people who are loving and giving are much happier and live a richer, fuller life.  You would think it would be the opposite…that a selfish person, who only is concerned with themselves, would be happier because they can concentrate on their own happiness.  But the opposite is true.  I think we gain joy and happiness from giving to others.
There’s a place for selfishness, if it means taking care of oneself, having healthy boundaries, loving oneself for who one is….but I am not sure that even equates to being selfish.  I think true selfishness is always putting oneself first, no matter the circumstance. It means that the world revolves around that person and nobody else matters.  I saw what true selfishness does to a person, in a long term relationship I was in many years ago.  As time went by, he became more and more selfish…and the more selfish he became, the more miserable.  He was filled to the brim with self-loathing and he was incredibly selfish the majority of the time.  Even when he did something generous, it was only to make himself feel better and not out of a loving gesture. I have never known a selfish person who was happy.
I have wonderful parents…..both are loving, generous, thoughtful and kind.  It’s the foundation I built my life on and it has served me well.  It makes me happy to be loving and generous.  And I find that the love and kindness I give out is returned to me tenfold.
I think selfishness is a decision…a choice.  I don’t think we “have” to be selfish. It’s many choices we make every day.  And if we fall into the pattern of selfish acts, we can recognize it and make better choices.  When we choose to be loving and giving and forgiving, when we choose to treat others with consideration and kindness, when we choose to put a lot of thought and effort every day into bringing joy into other people’s lives…that’s where true happiness lies.
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