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Be Selfish...It's good for you

We live in a society that tells us we need to work harder to be smarter, faster, better, stronger. We pride ourselves on being pushed to our limits, forgoing personal/family time for extra hours on the job, and existing on five hours of sleep all for the sake of success. However, it seems that no matter how hard we push, we can always push harder — at least, that’s what we’re told. But what if we took time out of the day and from “work” to just be with ourselves, to be what some might call selfish? In my opinion, being selfish isn’t a bad thing. In fact, I believe it’s one of the best things we can do for ourselves. If we take time to be selfish each day, then I would argue that we’re stronger and better prepared for our jobs, relationships, life. The more we’re fulfilled, the more we can fulfill others. Working yourself to the point of  feeling lonely, unhappy, and unfulfilled, all for the sake of “success,” isn’t the way to go. Whenever I notice myself spiraling down this all-too-familiar rabbit hole, I take a step back. I breathe. I stop pushing so hard. I bring the attention back to me, to what I need — what my body and mind needs. It’s when I’m being mindful and doing my best to live in the moment that I find myself doing my best work in school, and making meaningful relationships with people.

By being selfish, you're using efficient energy. On the days when I take time to be selfish, I feel the most alive, the most creative, and more engaged with the people in my life. To me, being selfish means putting myself first. It means that I carve out time each and every day to be with myself, to do something solely because it makes me happy. Some days it's giving myself a free hour in the morning to go on a hike or make myself a delicious breakfast. Other days what makes me happy is getting a latte with a friend , or watching Netflix, or calling a friend from home. In all honestly, it doesn’t matter what I do, as long as it's something I choose and it's something that I’m doing for me. By choosing to take time for myself I’m able to focus my energy, concentrate, and relax, so that when I go out into my day I’m better able to live in the moment and not let stress get to me.  I’m able to put my attention and energy on people I care about, and the things I care about.

So, consider this: Maybe when it comes to being successful, we don’t need to push harder. We need to focus on doing less, on being present in the moment. When we take time for ourselves, we’re better able to create a life that has purpose and meaning. I choose, each and every day, to live my life for me. When I fulfill myself, I have the energy and desire to share it with others. To find success for yourself, maybe you first have to be selfish.

Anna Rose Daugherty