Every time I mention the fact that there are times when you need to be selfish there is sure to be someone who is horrified by the word ‘selfish’. At a seminar or in an article I will get feedback asking me how can I push selfishness; isn’t that wrong? In my book, And Then I’ll Be Happy! Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness and Put Your Own Life First, even I had a momentary concern about the words “put your own life first” in the title. Yet I was the author who wrote about the importance of making your own life priority number one! The word selfishness has a bad reputation and gets bad press.

So as springtime approaches, that marvelous, unchartered time of year when we have so many things we hope to accomplish, there are those who feel that my telling people to be selfish may seem to be the wrong advice to give.

Selfish? We should be helping others and making the world a better place, right? Yes, absolutely, but, the truth is that by being selfish you can eventually do more to help others. Face it; if you’re in a good place with your own life, you are in a better emotional and physical position to be helpful to others.

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Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie certainly have not given up their goals or their dreams of achieving what makes them fulfilled artistically. But, because of their success they are able to be great philanthropists. Other examples of people who have put their own lives first are Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey; successful at what they wanted to do, pursuing the life they wanted, and finally in a position to do much good. Doing what is best for you is often one of the best things that you can do for others.  Everyone you meet stands to benefit from your positive energy when you’re at you are satisfied with your own achievements.  What appears to be a selfish act may truly be unbelievably unselfish at its core.

Practicing good selfishness, what I call positive selfishness or self-ness is a necessity to making your life happy and complete. Artists, writers, actors, composers and those successful in business; all have had to be selfish at some point to pursue their dreams and succeed. Why is it seen as selfish and wrong when you want to do something that is important for you?

Writing and getting my second book No Woman Diets Alone - There's Always a Man Behind Her Eating a Doughnut published, was good selfishness on my part because it fulfilled my writer's drive. Fulfilling that need made me a happier, more-giving person because I hadn't placed my own goal last. Certainly there is a need to satisfy yourself; if you don't take the initiative to follow a course that is important for your happiness, who will do it for you? Be satisfied to satisfy yourself first and you will have made a positive, sometimes life-changing, decision.

Maybe there is a need to define what you are doing when you put your own life first. You are being nurturing and supportive of the one person who is most in need and that person is you. At its very core, selfishness is a survival skill, physically, emotionally, and mentally. You need that spark of selfishness that puts your life at the forefront.

Good selfishness is a virtue. When you put everyone and everything in your life ahead of what you want, you are being let down by the only person who knows what’s really best for you: yourself.  You are doing yourself a disservice by ignoring or endlessly postponing what you really want.

Practicing positive selfishness doesn’t mean you don’t care for others. It simply means you make time and space in your life to care for yourself first. Ultimately, that will make you and those you love happier and healthier.

Put your own life first and practice positive selfishness. Make life wonderful and wonder-filled!


© 2011 Kristen Houghton all rights reserved

Kristen Houghton is the author of the following books:

No Woman Diets Alone - There's Always a Man Behind Her Eating a Doughnut available on all e-book venues.
The Kirkus Review calls it, “A brilliantly funny, irreverent romp through marital misadventures told completely tongue-in-cheek by one of the newest and best writers today. No Woman Diets Alone is a wonderful gem of a book. Houghton takes relationships to a whole new level of hilarity!"

And Then I'll Be Happy! Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness and Put Your Own Life First available in paperback and e-book 


Houston Chronicle says, "Savvy, sane advice for all! Highly recommended, Houghton is a gem of a writer!"