Is it ever okay to be selfish? or...When is it okay to be selfish?

@miamilady (4924)
United States
May 14, 2009 7:30pm CST
I wasn't sure which was the best way to title this, so I did both... This discussion has the potential to be pretty deep, or it could be pretty superficial. It's up to you to decide where you want to take it. I'll throw out some ideas and you can decide which ones to focus on. I'll start with the tougher ones, because they are weighing on my mind a little more right now. Then I'll go to the not so serious ones... I've seen it said that abortion is a "selfish act". That arguably could be true. In my opinion, that doesn't necessarily make it "wrong". Divorce - Selfish...does that make it wrong? What if you simply can't fix it despite your best efforts? Buying your home more than 30 minutes away from your inlaws because they annoy you. Selfish? Yeah! Wrong? I don't think so. Hiding the last five oreos because you live with a bunch of cookie hogs! Selfish? Sure. Wrong? Not necessarily. Doesn't mom deserve some oreos too? Or little brother who just can't seem to get to them fast enough? Feel free to comment on the examples above or throw in some of your own.
2 people like this
18 responses
@DavidReedy (2411)
• United States
8 Jun 09
We are all selfish, and we are all imperfect. (Some would debate, and say that we are perfect the way we are.) There's a funny finding in spirituality, psychodynamics, and now even quantum physics seems to supoprt this notion... That the ONLY way we can ever truly improve... is dependant on us first accepting ourselves for who we are here and now... And this just sounds so contrary to "common sense" yet it seems to be true in itself. Philosophers have suggestesd that there's no such thing as an unselfish act--that everything we do is based on making ourselves' feel good, right, justified, etc. I think in things such a play and innocent indulgances (hiding the oreos :p ) Is perfectly fine, as long as we are not truly tied to the fate of said indulgences--that is, they do not become more important than Love or truth, or doing the best thing. Everyone else in the world can judge us--but do their judgments matter in the end? No. God Him/Itself doesn't even judge, for if we believe there's a perfect being, then that perfect beings laws would have to apply to Him/It--so thus if He says "Judge not" then He would not judge, also the notion that said being is Pure Love, and we know that Love is without judgement, then in the end the only judge that truly matters is our own self--and as hard as we may try we cannot hide from or lie to our true self. So, for the right reasons, all any of us can do is for the most part, spend our time being the right person we know we would like to amount to--(with the occasional deviation for fun's sake ;P ) Namaste` David A. Reedy...
@Annmac (949)
19 May 09
Abortion isn't always a selfish act. I was told to consider one with my third child and if my life had been the one in danger I'd have chosen the abortion. Selfish as that may sound I wasn't thinking just of myself, I was thinking of the child I had who needed me. I'd already had a miscarriage and had lost a child, so my son's happiness was thwe most important thing to me! Divorce isn't always selfish either. My Mum divorced her abusive husband for several reasons. Three of them were her children! She could not bear to see us hurt by him! Buying a home somewhere that makes it difficult for others you don't choose as friends to visit is only selfish if it upsets the other members of your main family. Being close to family one person gets on with can cause problems in a relationship which is even more selfish on your part. Hiding the last five biscuits isn't selfish. You've already shared the rest and if you give some to the younger child then your not being selfish at all. We are all selfish in many ways. The fact that we 'search' for personal happiness is a very selfish concept don't you think. lol
@celticeagle (122705)
• Boise, Idaho
19 May 09
Selfishness changes color when it is for ones own salvation and good form. Divorce can be very selfish but if it is for someones own salvation and the betterment of the circle then it is a good thing. Moms need all the oreos she can get and if she is like me feels guilty for doing 'selfish things' for herself. This is relatively normal but very sad to me. Abortion is different for everyone and all have a right to their opinion. It is a very private thing. I think selfishness is a double edged sword and needs to be addressed carefully and with respect to each person's situation.
• United States
18 May 09
Abortion is selfish but that doesn't make it wrong. I always say tp pro lifers if they think it is murder than I think of it as justifiable homicide. why/ Because for me and only me, it would be either the baby's life or my own, there wouldn't be both. and besides what makes them want a selfish person to have a baby they won't even acknowledge?I think in some cases having a baby is a selfish act. If the parents are having the child not to bring a new soul into the world but just because they want a smaller form of themselves or so to keep close to their partner.Divorce can be both selfish and selfless .If you are divorcing because you want another whilr your spouse is and was a great mate. That is selfish. but if you are divorcing because you love your spouse too much to inflict all the pain , then it is selfless. Or you two are oiland water and all you do id fight and in front of the kids and yet you love each other, divorce would be selfless.Moving away from inlaws isn't selfish, it is necessary.I don't see why you have to see your inlaws. they come to see their child and their grand children if they have any, not the son or daughter in law.Oreos. don't you hide the cookies on the top shelf?It is a saying in hockey , top shelf is a shot up high and we say it is where mom hides the cookies. Anyway, mom deserves some cookies. not selfish at all , The problem is that good mothers like you put their children first and they don't take time for themselves.what I would do is open the package and put some aside for mom.
@whyaskq (7532)
• Singapore
16 May 09
There are bound to be 2 views - either ok or not ok. Does majority win? I doubt. In my opinion, if you feel it is okay to be selfish, it is okay to be selfish. What is important is you yourself need to feel comfortable with the decision you make. As long as the decision comes from you, the feeling will be good. Why bother about others' views.
@glassy1 (63)
16 May 09
Yes there are times when it is not only okay but necessary to be selfish - if nothing else it is about self preservation. Yes there are a number of ways people behave that re really selfish in a stupid and benine way such as your cookie example but what of the time out for the sake of sanity or the selfish act that is for the good of someone close.
• Cebu, Philippines
16 May 09
getting divorce should not be considered as selfish thing to do, since according to the eg. itself they've been trying to fix it up but still nothing happens..so no matter how they tried to do such things it won't work..to avoid complication and before you hurt your partner more..end it the right way and still be friends even if the couple is getting divorce..since they've been together maybe for quite sometime.
• United States
15 May 09
it can be.especially if you have family or roommates that plow through stuff and never replace it themselves. if somebody's hoarding on me,they're gonna get it back.
@wolfie34 (26792)
• United Kingdom
15 May 09
For me selfishness is when you do everything for your partner in bed and they do nothing for you, they expect you to please them and arouse them but when they want it all and refuse to reciprocate, that irritates me, should be give and take, not take, take, take! Selfishness is watching television from 8am in the morning until 11pm at night and not asking any of the family what they would like to watch. Selfishness is having the television loud so you can hear it upstairs, in the garden word for word.
@Raven7317 (693)
• United States
15 May 09
What some call selfish, I call "Self Preservation." I'll use your examples to explain my thoughts... Selfish is only if you think ONLY of yourself and no one else. Abortion: I've already responded to your discussion on pro-choice and I feel I made my view clear there... but for the question of it being a selfish solution, I would say using it as a method of birth control is selfish. Being a young woman, maybe in college, she and her steady boyfriend have a liason and their birth control fails, she ends up pregnant... They think of their futures, the future they can - or can not - offer the baby, they decide to abort. Then they double up on BC to ensure it doesn't happen again.... That's self preservation. If they never used BC, got pregant a few times, aborted a few times and never made any effort to ensure it didn't happen again... that's irresponsible and selfish. Divorce: you have to consider so many aspects... your age, your future, your sanity, your children... if a couple is constantly fighting, don't spend time together, don't love each other, don't make an enjoyable, safe and happy home for the kids... staying together can be more selfish than splitting up. Why should everyone be miserable and unhappy together when all can be happy and livley apart? Walking away without thinking of the consequences to all those involved is selfish. But walking away to make a better life for all those involved is self preservation. Buying your home far from in-laws: the decision to buy a home is based on your family's needs, no one elses.... if your family NEEDS to be more than 30 minutes away from the inlaws to have a happy life, then that is one consideration - just like the school district and the commute.... it's a pro - or con, depending on how you look at it - that goes on the list to consider when making such an important purchase. Buying a home that doesn't suit the needs of your family, but is far from the inlaws, that would be selfish - as opposed to buying a home that's perfect for your family AND far from the inlaws - that would be self preservation. Hiding the last 5 oreos - are you hiding them for yourself? That's selfish. If your hiding them for your little guy who always seems to miss out? That's not selfish. If you say, "I'm taking the last 5 oreos and I'm putting them aside for me to have later" that's self preservation because YES, mom deserves Oreos too! Regardless of any situation: if you do or say anything, or act a certain way for no other reason than to please yourself or to be mean, you're being selfish.
@jillmalitz (5132)
• United States
15 May 09
I don't think of abortion or divorce as selfish always. I guess it depends on the situation. Like you say sometimes it is a impossible situation with no really good answer. Buying a home to get away from the inlaws - well, they could always move closer, then what.That I could consider selfish. Things like cookies I can relate to cause my kids have done that to me, by the time I got to the cookies they were gone, and I never got any. Sometimes we have to "pamper" or take care of ourselves first before anyone else. Remember the old saying "when mama's not happy, nobody is happy". Sometimes our psyche just needs a boost. Now if someone is always doing or buying, etc just for themselves and not thinking of family too well that could be selfish.Some selfish people I have know always had to one up others no matter what. They always had to have the best, the most expensive, the newest, the look at me the most. That's selfish.
@savypat (20245)
• United States
15 May 09
Selfish has a negative connotation in it's common usage today. However the definition of selfish is putting self interest ahead of others interest. In it's most basic form one cannot survive without doing this. We make heroes out of people who have put others interest ahead of their own especially at the cost of their safety or even lives. If this was to be taken to the extreme it would be like the old joke about twins waiting to be born each saving after you, no after you to the point that neither gets born. Some one has to step forward and say, I'm going to do this for me. All this doesn't really answer your question, but I think that answer has to be left to each of us and depends on the situation.
• United States
15 May 09
Absolutely! I find that I am slightly selfish when I demand my time alone, a hot bubble bath with no interruptions, my own food without extra fingers taking portions of it. I think we all have to be slightly selfish in order to make sure we're taking care of ourself. However, perhaps selfish really isn't the best word for it. Maybe we could simply call it being self-full. Meaning, when we fill ourself with what we need to exist, to remain sane, and healthy that we're then able to provide to others what they need. Have a wonderful evening. Namaste-Anora
@yoyozhou (356)
• China
15 May 09
I think selfish is relative and the examples you list about can be understand. I can understand why people divorce without thinking their children because my parents divorced. I never hate them althought really something is change in my heart. I can understand how a helpless girl go to have an abortion because she has nothing to support baby. I can understand how you will bear when you live with inlaws since there is a big gap between you and you inlaws.ect. All in all, life is tough for everyone. Every decision is hard to make. If we hurt others, we are not happy . But sometimes we have no choose or we can not afford the matters.
• China
15 May 09
I believe people born with that personality "selfish".Everyone is selfish.Just someone are strong ,some are not in certain case. When i see people do this or that,i take it easy.Think about yourself,you may act exactly like them. So ,don't take it that serious.Life is easy. Just enjoy every moment,nomatter it bad or good.
@anetteh (3591)
• Sweden
15 May 09
miamilady, Selfish? What is that?. I can not think of when I ever have been selfish. I think we should be selfish now or then. We have so much responsibility to others in our lifes that we some times need to take the time to just do the things I like to do, things that is important to me, not others. You have responsibility to the familymembers. You are the one to preper things for them, special kids, you make the food to them...no matter the age..they can not seems to be able to to it them selfs...here I have actually started to be more selfish. My son is now 18 and when they turn of age, it is time they do things by them selfs...like preper some dinner..easy stuff like finished from store meatballs and cooke some spagetti or macaroni...as of yesterday, my son phoned me at work and asked what is for dinner....I said, you can make spagetti and meatballs, that I do not need to do for YOU. (I had the evening shift at work and had my dinner there) Responsibility is not only for family, it is also for your self...you need to take care of your self in order to be able to take care of others. I am glad I am single, that means I can be more selfish and only think of me now or then. And it feels great...I do not have bad conscience about that.
@SomeCowgirl (32264)
• United States
15 May 09
I think that for the situations you've listed above it depends on the situation as to whether it is selfish or not. I don't agree with abortion but if their are other reasons for it then well it's really the mother and the father of the child's choice. I think that divorce should be the last resort to a failed marriage, and that one should really try to work it out to the best of their ability and then get the help of others. Sometimes even after a fight it takes a lot of guts to admit your wrong or admit the way you really feel. My fiance and I are getting married, and this will be our first and last marriage, why? because divorce isn't in our vocabulary. It's a choice thing, selfish? maybe. Moving away from inlaws and the cookies. The inlaws, any family can be annoying, moving away from them I don't think is selfish, it might keep you more sane, but as long as you give them a call once in a while it shouldn't matter? as for me, going to be living behind mine! Well these are some good issues you brought up, I can't think of anymore to add. As for the cookies, that's not selfish!
@arcidy (5016)
• United States
15 May 09
Sure its okay to be selfish especially at rough times like this when times are rough. Sometimes its hard to not to help people I wish I could help people at times like this but I have to help my self first.