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Get Over Yourself – You Are Allowed To Be Self-Centered

Self-Centered vs Selfish, self-centric, narcissism, people-pleaser, no boundaries, self-esteem, self-love, self-care, using others, empathy, compassion
Self-Centered vs Selfish, self-centric, narcissism, people-pleaser, no boundaries,
Get Over Yourself – You Are Allowed To Be Self-Centered!

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the difference between being self-centered and being selfish, and why it is important to be self-centered.

First a quick update:

The Breakup Test
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Now, let’s talk about the difference between being self-centered and being selfish, and why it is important to be self-centered.

Does your ex or current partner describe you as being selfish or self-centered?

Being selfish and being self-centered sound like one and the same thing; they are not!

You will most likely be shocked by what you are about to read.

Everyone is self-centered.

Even the people who give to charities or serve others or preach to ‘save’ others or pray for others or meditate for world healing are still being self-centered.

How so?

The result of these outwardly focused actions (helping others) is that the person doing them gets an inner reward of an emotional benefit.

When your action results in you feeling good (satisfied, fulfilled, content, happy, joyful, purposeful, significant, etc.) then you are being self-centered, but, as I will explain in a moment, that is not equivalent to being selfish.

We eat, sleep, and function based on self-centeredness. If we did not care about ourselves at all, then we would not wake up and live. Self-centeredness is the drive to live and to thrive.

“Wait a moment”, you say. “What about the person who receives meaning and purpose by living to help others or to care for a sick friend or parent, or the person who chooses to make a positive difference in other people’s lives?”

The reward for that person is the inner fulfillment, joy, connection, belonging or some other emotional benefit. Remember, too, that some people are motivated or manipulated to take care of or give to others out of guilt or shame. Accordingly, they too, are doing it to relieve themselves of guilt.

What about the act of love? Is that, too, an act of self-centeredness?

Why do you love the person you do?

Is it because he/she has admirable traits or is it because of the way they treat you or ‘make’ you feel?

Perhaps it is a combination. Either way, if you love the person because of the way you feel around them, is that not then an example of self-centeredness?

A completely selfless act can only exist when the person who is giving gets nothing in return, not even the satisfaction of knowing that he/she made a difference, nor of being relieved of guilt or doing it out of the belief that he/she will be rewarded in some way such as in an afterlife (‘go to heaven’.)

How is that different to being selfish?

“A red rose is not selfish because it wants to be a red rose. It would be horribly selfish if it wanted all the other flowers in the garden to be both red and roses.” – Oscar Wilde

The act of selfishness is the act that not only serves and benefits you but does so at the cost and detriment of others.

Self-centeredness becomes selfishness when you engage in an act whereby you no longer care about anyone else other than yourself. Narcissism is the extreme version of selfishness on a regular basis or as a personality trait or disorder.

The narcissist has an exaggerated sense of self importance and entitlement, and lacks empathy, and possesses a strong need for excessive admiration. In other words, the narcissist only cares about you as a way to make him/herself feel better and uses you for his own self-aggrandizement with no compassion or concern about you or your welfare.

The point here is to focus on achieving the balance of being self-centered while still caring for and showing compassion to others. The person who believes he/she should renounce all personal desire and denounce all care for oneself is not being selfless but rather is giving into a subconscious program (from childhood, religion or society) that says, ‘If you think at all about yourself, you are a bad person and you are not loveable or worthy.’ In turn, this person engages in seemingly selfless behavior to stave off guilt, shame and the fear of punishment or condemnation. It does not work: It impedes deep connection, makes him/her feel worse and it undermines healthy relationships. The result is people-pleasing whereby your needs and desires are never met, and you get trampled on because as I say, “You teach others how to treat you.”

Accordingly, it is okay to be self-centered, to take care of yourself and your needs. Simply become aware of when your motivations change and your behavior becomes selfish and you use people to get your needs and desires met.

Meanwhile, if you are someone who struggles to place boundaries and/or is a people-pleaser, book a one-on-one session with me to help you to bring yourself back into balance – to love yourself as you do your neighbors – to become the best version of yourself.

You can add to the conversation below.

I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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