Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Be More Self-Centered - Part II

Last time, I wrote that many people care for others more than themselves. I asked you why you would do that. What do you think? I will share my thoughts below.

One of the most common reasons could be that you are supposed to be “nice” to people. Culturally, religiously, or because of the parenting you received, you may feel you are “supposed” to be this way. It’s like an absolute fact of life that you have never doubted. Another reason could be that you are afraid of being disliked or excluded by those people; if you voice your opinions, they may not like you anymore. Or, you may say to yourself, “it’s not a big deal. Why bother?” So you just let it be. You may have other reasons but these appear to be quite common.

So what’s the fundamental problem with it? I can think of two major problems.

One problem is that you tend to overestimate the risk of hurting others’ feelings, and try to avoid it even when you don’t need to. This means that even if they are totally cool with voicing your opinions or needs, you just don’t think to do so or you are afraid that it may “upset” them. As a result, you stay this way unnecessarily. But wait, would you want the ones you love to sacrifice themselves unnecessarily this way so as not to “hurt” your feelings? You probably want them to be open and honest with you, don’t you? If so, don’t you want both sides to genuinely enjoy each other’s company?

In short, if you don’t want them to be that way towards you, your loved ones most-likely don’t want you do the same either.

Then you may say, “But Cathy would not like me doing this way. She wasn’t happy when I expressed myself honestly.” Yes, that can happen. Even if you respectfully express yourself, some people never like it. The fact is that this kind of person may not want you to be yourself, because that won’t be convenient for them. In this case, here is my question for you: “So what’s the point of being with people like that?” I am not talking about your boss at work. I am talking about your personal relationships. You don’t need to be with someone who needs you to just be a “doormat”. They are your relationships and you can choose whom you want to be with.

Another problem of being this way is that if you care for others first, you don’t take care for yourself, including your feelings, your needs, your body, your health, your schedule, your preferences, your wishes, and so on. What makes you believe that you are that worthless? You care about them so much that you treat yourself like nobody and ignore yourself. This tendency keeps hurting your “being.” You may feel scared, fearful, reluctant, unhappy, unmotivated, sad, unconfident, and so. There is nothing more important than yourself, since you are the only being you will stay with until the end of your life.

Therefore, if you don’t respect yourself, your life sucks.

Then someone may say, “I don’t want to be selfish!” or “I don’t want to be a monster who doesn’t care for other people!” That’s very fair. Actually, however, sharing your opinions does not mean others are expected to automatically agree with you. Let’s use the examples above. If your friend wants to go eat cheeseburger and you wanted to eat something lighter, you voice your preference, you both talk about the options, and you may end up going to some restaurants which have both kinds of food, instead of just going to a burger stand. If you tell your mom about your situation and give her 10 minutes, she may be able to keep it short for you so you can go back to your work (if she won’t, that’s another issue between a child and parent. I may discuss it in future). In short, this is not selfishness. You just respect both your friends and loved-ones and yourself, instead of leaving yourself out of the picture.

I hope you now feel somewhat motivated to be a little more self-centered. In the next post, I will share some ideas how to be more self-centered.

No comments:

Post a Comment