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9 Behaviors Perceived as Selfish - But Aren’t

 Let’s start by making something clear: selfishness has a bad name, and while sometimes its bad name is justified, there are other times where it’s not; While it’s true that self-importance and regularly placing yourself at the top of your priorities aren’t positive things, there are quite a few situations in which our ability to be selfish and to take care of ourselves is absolutely logical and even neccessary. In order to help you understand the cases in which you shouldn’t be ashamed to put yourself first, we’ve collected nine examples that will prove to you once and for all that sometimes a behavior that others may mistakenly perceive as "selfish" is actually the right thing to do, for yourself and for those around you.

woman looking in a mirror

1. Separating your personal and professional lives

In this work culture that we’re engrossed in its often expected for us to not differentiate between work and home time and if you "dare" to ask your colleagues or clients to be in touch only during real work hours, you may be perceived as selfish or unprofessional. This is a fundamentally incorrect assumption as both psychologists and professionals suggest separating personal life from professional life and setting regular work and home hours. In this case, this is not selfish behavior in any way, but rather an effective and correct way to avoid professional burn-out.

2. Resting for one day and doing nothing

Further to the previous point, the same work culture that we mentioned above can make us assume guilt when we feel unproductive for even a moment or if we have trouble meeting deadlines. You've probably heard from all sides how important it is to increase your work performance and that "time is money," but what about your health and peace of mind? Are they not important? Of course, they must be taken into consideration, which is why you shouldn’t fear being “selfish” if once in a while you decide to take the day off and do nothing; After all, we all have to stop occasionally, relax and take some ‘me’ time, it’ll only do your productivity good.

woman drinking coffee on the couch with colorful socks

3. Demanding compensation

A haircut you didn’t like, an extra salty dish served at a restaurant, a purchased item that arrived damaged or broken - all these are not bad reasons, and dare we say even justified, to complain and seek compensation from a business owner or service provider. While we all know people who wrongly do it on a regular basis there is absolutely no reason to be afraid of asking for compensation for what you paid for if it too didn’t receive it as you’d expected. There are, of course, several types of compensation: getting the service or product free or discounted, returning the product, or a monetary return - you have to decide which is right for you.

4. Refusing to take part in the gossip

Gossip, rumors, whispers and talking behind the back - all these, unfortunately, are very common in the workplace and places of learning, among friends, and in society. Those who refuse to take part in these obscene practices may be considered arrogant and selfish and evoke an unjustified anger. Of course, your refusal to take part in idle talk about a person and gossip is not to be ashamed of, and if you want to express your opinion, it is best that it be to the person's face and not behind their back.two girls whispering behind the back of another girl

5. Refusing to change your place

Whether on a flight, at the movie theater, or in line - you will usually meet these people who want to “trade” places with you, some of them doing it more courteously and others less (not to mention those who just push their way through...); Either way, you really don’t have to allow it if you don’t want to. You can take the person who is asking you into consideration if you’d like, like if they are elderly, pregnant or with some sort of disability, but you are in no way obligated to accommodate them. If it is really important to someone, these things can be booked in advance.

6. Asking for a promotion and with it a raise

A feeling of general incompetence, fear of internalizing achievements and receiving compliments from others are all characteristics of many of us who suffer from the so-called "impostor syndrome", which doesn’t allow us to see our successes because we are afraid of being proven wrong or not good enough or because we fear being seen as selfish and self-centered ; This is also what prevents many of us from asking for a raise, but if you feel that you are capable of dealing with more difficult and complex tasks at work and that you have a good and strong relationship with your colleagues in the workplace, don’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve. However, of course, remember to do this only if you are interested in a job that comes not only with more money but also with greater responsibility.


7. Asking to stop being everyone’s shoulder to cry on

If you're one of those people whose friends call every day to share their troubles and complain about the whole world, and if this is something that’s been going on for some good years, maybe it's time to rethink the nature of your relationship without fear of being selfish. It is important to help friends and support them in times of trouble, but you also need to know how to do it right: to give good advice to get your friend out of that slump, to help them stop feeling like a victim and to be aware of your needs within the friendship, after all, friendship is meant to Make both sides feel good. If you feel that this isn’t the nature of your friendship with someone, don’t be shy about asking them to stop complaining to you.

8. Doing things for yourself

Further to the previous section, it is important to say that living life to help others and being there for them is indeed an idea that sounds noble and graceful on its surface but in practice, it can lead to devastating consequences. Psychological maturity means that a person can separate their real desires and goals from those of others, even those closest to them, and only then can they realize their dreams and turn them into reality. Which is why you don’t have to feel selfish when your personal desires differ from those of your spouse or your loved ones; Many psychologists and professionals point out that only those who are self-confident and able to do for themselves as well as for others can eventually live a happy life and become better parents and family members.

woman pointing at herself

9. Expressing yourself

The ability to freely express one's feelings and opinions is one of the most prominent traits in people with a strong personality, and should not be seen as selfish. Strong people who know how to express themselves are not ashamed to say no, are not afraid of rejection and are not afraid to say what is on their mind, even if to others it seems silly.
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