Selfish - it doesn’t even sound good does it? That is because for many of us it takes us back to childhood when a well meaning teach or parent used it to tell us off.
The problem with ‘selfish’ is that all too often people use it to judge and scold others or to stop themselves from doing what they want to do. Where does self respect, self esteem, self determination end and selfishness begin?
When you are tempted to use the word “Selfish” either about yourself or others, my suggestion is pause and think about what is actually happening.
Here are a few ideas that will help:
Behaviour by others that you would previously have labelled Selfish
Ask yourself, what is it about their behaviour that you are reacting to? Is it a lack of consideration for your feelings or those of others or are they doing something at a time or in a way that doesn’t suit you?
If it is you could instead say “I don't like the way you’re behaving” or “I don’t agree with what you are proposing, it seems to take no account of what I (others) need”
Behaviour by you labelled selfish by others
Where this happens consider responding:
- What is it about what I am doing or saying that you don’t like? or
- I am expressing what I want in this situation as it is important to me. Is there anything about what I am saying that you disagree with?
The key again is to communicate with the other person to get more data (feedback) on what is happening for them to improve the situation.
Not doing something because you are frightened of being labelled selfish (You may even label it selfish yourself)
Ask yourself, “What is it that is really stopping me?” Are you
- Frightened I fail or, heaven forbid, succeed?
- Worried that someone else will be upset by what i am saying or proposing to do?
It’s ok to want what you want
Practice expressing your own wants and needs, avoid labelling other people’s behaviour as selfish and you may find that as you move forward you allow yourself and others to have more of what you and they want.
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Founder of Monkey Puzzle and an INLPTA NLP Master Trainer, John is also a Clinical Hypnotherapist and author of the award winning book Real Leaders for the Real World. His new book Time Mastery; Banish Time Management Forever is out now.