So far we’ve discussed the meaning of “selfish” and the misconceptions surrounding it. Now let’s talk about how it can negatively impact our happiness and overall wellbeing.
Sometimes people guilt us into doing things we don’t want to do by calling us selfish. An example I gave in the previous post outlined parents guilting their children into careers the children do not want… let’s dissect.
If we go by the outdated and incorrect definition of the term selfish the child may feel defenseless. They are being called selfish; they think of selfishness as a bad thing. It can make them feel like they are a bad person for wanting to follow their dreams. The child may feel their only choice is to follow their parents’ wishes in order to not be selfish – to not be bad.
If we go by the true concept of selfishness the child has a better chance. The child has an opportunity to gain clarity in order to make a decision. By understanding that selfishness is an inherent human trait (and does not make the child a bad person) the child can ask the parent to elaborate on their stance. This way the child has a better understanding of how the parent feels and can work from there.
If the parent is concerned the child will not be happy, the child can reassure the parent that they are choosing something that will make them happy. If the parent thinks the child is being disrespectful or inconsiderate the child can reassure the parent they are respected. A person should pick their career and life path based on what will make them happy -not what will make their parent happy. A parent should not try to control their child and force them into a career they do not want. That is how we get depression.
People who call us selfish to guilt us into doing things may not know any better. It may be confusing for them when we do not play into the game that they have been taught to play. They may even get angry (secondary emotion to sadness) because they played the game and expected the same from you. Stay strong my friends.