Sometimes It’s Okay to be Selfish

By Randy Gage

Take a businessman who keeps a terrible employee because he feels sorry for her. He hasn't the heart to fire her because her life is a wreck, her mother is an alcoholic, her husband's in jail – whatever - and so he enables her self-destructive behavior and lifestyle by keeping her on. In keeping this employee, against his better judgment but for the moral good – his other employees must take up her slack. They begin to feel resentful and angry. Performance suffers across the board. Even hardworking, dedicated employees start to slack, because they see that they are not treated and rewarded in respect to the effort they contribute. The customer service declines and sales start going down. Now everyone’s job is threatened.

But let’s say the businessman had done things differently, selfishly, for the betterment of himself and his company. He calls the errant worker into his office and after explaining why, he lets her go.

This could be the wake-up call she needs to re-evaluate her life and approach. She looks for a job better suited to her skills and can do well. Or she repeats that same performance, and hopefully gets fired again, so she has another chance to learn the lesson she needs to learn.  And just as important, our original boss has a company that isn't in jeopardy and a happy crew to work with.

In a free society, where the needs of the individual come first, people are liberated from guilt and anxiety. Self-sacrifice is more than the root of low self-esteem, it is anti-free enterprise and consequently anti-humanity. When the living energy of productive citizens is sucked from them by the parasitic herd, what incentive is there to remain productive?

Every man and woman of integrity should earn their own living in the free trade of value for value with others. This means no free rides. No pride in receiving the unearned.

Today you have everyone telling you to be selfless, and take care of others. If you buy into this craziness, you are doomed to a life of lack, misery, frustration, of unrealized dreams, and settling for mediocrity. Adopting self-sacrifice as a virtue enables others to take complete advantage of you and, practiced long enough, selfless behavior ultimately destroys you. You have no purpose in life, other than placating others and seeking their approval. Which you can only earn by giving up your own happiness. This is sick, twisted and dysfunctional, but it is what a lot of forces will be trying to program you to do.

True happiness, success and prosperity begin with your fundamental core values. The things that are the most important to you, as this drives the actions you take every day. And these spring forth from your central purpose in life. Have you ever thought about your purpose in life?

If not it may mean you have to dramatically alter the view you have of yourself, and your role in the world. If you’re like most people, you define yourself by your roles (husband, engineer, symphony board member, etc.), and you view your purpose through the eyes of servicing others, contributing to the greater good, or looking after the people around you. And that is insane! 

If you define yourself by your roles (someone’s wife, someone’s husband), then you have no personal identity. Which means a low self-esteem and opinion of yourself.

People who spend their existence worrying solely about the needs of others and not themselves are not noble, benevolent, and spiritual. They are just crazy.  

And because they don’t look after their own needs first, they really can’t help others in a healthy way. They can console them, participate in their drama, or enable their co-dependence, but they can’t offer them real, meaningful help.

You know that to love anyone else, you must first love yourself. But are you really aware of what that means on a practical application level? You must live your life by the fundamental values of:

  • Purpose

  • Self-esteem

  • Reason

Now tie these together with the discussion on selfishness, meeting your own needs first, and creating a life of happiness. Your highest moral purpose must be your own happiness. Because this is the only healthy, sane way to live. And the only way that ensures the survival of the species, and the well being of the most people. In fact, it is the only honorable way to conduct any relationship! 

You must not sacrifice yourself to others because that is depravity. It is depravity because it is a certain state of moral corruption and degradation. It is sick, a sure symptom of mental illness. Do you really get that?

And likewise for the opposite situation. You shouldn’t ask others to sacrifice for you, for that is no less sick and depraved. Corrupting the morals of others is no less evil than corrupting your own. It doesn’t serve anyone to degrade yourself or to degrade others. And that is exactly what sacrificing yourself for others is. When you have your own happiness as your highest moral purpose, you have a productive – and moral – reason to exist. And here’s the important thing...

If everyone did this, the world would be a much better place!  Instead of dysfunction, depravity, and codependence, we would have healthy, functional, value-for-value relationships. No one would be asking you to sacrifice for them, and you would behave the same way. That is how healthy relationships are done.

The next important fundamental value is running your life by reason. Which means that you analyze things with the criteria of whether it serves your highest moral purpose, which is the perpetuation of your happiness.

And that is where this all leads to. You know exactly what brings value to you, and furthers your purpose, which is a life of happiness. It means accepting that you are supposed to be happy and working towards that end, without guilt. Rejecting the herd thinking surrounding you and refusing to give in to guilt rackets that are practiced on you.  

Read other articles and learn more about Randy Gage.

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