I have been both. I know the difference and therefore I am comfortable in my decisions and actions. However, many of my clients feel they are being selfish when in fact they are simply honoring themselves. But when honoring themselves the reaction they receive blurs the lines and they choose the easiest for everyone else – selfish – which manipulates them into loosing site of themselves.
Let me explain.
When in a job if you find yourself saying repeatedly things like:
It’s not fair
Everyone targets me
They need to change the rules (because I don’t like it/inconvenient for me…)
I didn’t do anything wrong, why is everyone punishing me
I don’t see why I need to change
It is a sign of selfishness. Selfishness is when you feel everyone around you needs to change to conform to you and that you have no responsibility or accountability in the actions or results.
You want the world to change but do not feel you need to lift one finger or change a thing.
You, my friend, are being selfish; and no, no one needs to do anything for you. Suck it up cupcake.
Self-honoring is when you say you are not going to accept certain things and you take deliberate actions to change the situation.
You do not want to be treated like a doormat at work so you start saying no (in a polite, firm and professional way).
You want to be seen for your abilities in order to reach that next level so you start asking for more responsibilities and to be included in more projects.
You feel your skill set is worth more or want to be in a company that respects you as an individual so you begin looking for another job.
These are not selfish because you are taking care of the most important person: you; and you are taking action to do so.
If you are at a perceived great job with outstanding pay but are unhappy you may decide to look for another job that fills a stronger need within yourself. When you tell close friends or family they treat you as being selfish for wanting to give up so much money when other people don’t make near as much as you do.
Tune them out. Money may be their motivator but it is not yours. If you do not have the same motivations how can they possibly be in a position to advise you as to what is best for you?
I hear it a lot in relationships, too: it’s not great but it isn’t bad.
I ever want anyone to ever say that about me! I would never settle for “not bad” – I want, deserve and want to give amazing. That isn’t selfish – it is honoring who I am and what I want. I’m not going to use someone in the mean time just so I am not alone. Now that would be selfish.
Your reasons for looking for a new job or career are personal and individual. No one has the right to tell you if you are right, wrong, selfish or a saint. It is between you and your inner-self. If you have a family to take care of those needs may come before your own, again, not selfish.
If you find yourself backing away from what you really want based on other people thinking you are selfish I just have one piece of advice for you: find new friends. Ones that will love and support you for the decisions you make based on what is best for you and your family, not what they perceive to be right or wrong.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW