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The main principles of healthy selfishness, or how to prioritize yourself (without forgetting others)


It is possible to put yourself first without neglecting others. It is enough to adopt the healthy selfishness, to find the balance between selfishness and altruism. The goal? Putting your needs first when our well-being depends on it.

It's one of those days where everything accumulates and where everything exhausts.

To compensate, only one desire animates: to go home and spend a quiet evening.

It was without counting these friends who offer to get together for a drink.

Given the level of fatigue felt, it would suffice to say no and communicate a need for rest.

But the fear of disappointing and the guilt are too strong, and the proposal is quickly accepted, to the detriment of what one feels.

This is the scene that plays out when you put yourself after others, or more precisely, when you put the needs of others before your own.

To remedy this, it would be a question of embracing what some mental health experts call healthy selfishness.

The posture consists of paying "healthy attention to one's own health, development, well-being, and freedom," says Scott Barry Kaufman, an American doctor of cognitive science, in an article published on

Psychology Today .

, November 7.

Nothing to do with egocentrism or pure selfishness, it's about finding the right balance between selfishness and altruism, and prioritizing when necessary, when our well-being depends on it.

Two psychologists deliver the main principles to follow to revolutionize the way of doing things.

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Say “no” without feeling guilty

For some, daring to say “no” is a challenge;

and when they succeed in achieving the goal, remorse and the need to justify themselves so that the answer is more acceptable can eat away at them.

No wonder, when we know that the mechanism is anchored in us since childhood.

By saying no, we fear falling out of love, rejection, abandonment.

“The belief is present in adults who were left to think during childhood that they had to be “perfect” to be acceptable, specifies Marie-Estelle Dupont, psychologist specializing in neuropsychology.

Or in those who could not express their needs, then were emotionally abused for fear of asserting themselves.

However, knowing how to refuse without feeling guilty is one of the fundamental principles of healthy selfishness.

To do this, we must assume disappointment, accepting that it is not our responsibility to fulfill the desires, needs, or fantasies of others.

“You have to distinguish between what the other feels and what you have to respect, and what he thinks, which you have to free yourself from, comments Marie-Estelle Dupont.

In reality, if the other is unable to respect our limits, does he really deserve that we care about his point of view?

To know itself

To have your limits respected, you still have to first identify your so-called “fundamental” needs.

What is essential for you?

What will we not give in to?

Everything is varied, rest, pleasure, emotional and material security, recognition, rootedness, authenticity, or even spirituality... Secondly, Lucile Bourdin, clinical psychologist, invites us to differentiate between needs and desires.

Basic needs are shared by all, but the ways of satisfying them are very varied.

For example, if we all need affection, some want declarations of love, while others want romantic gestures.

It is necessary to distinguish between what the other feels and which must be respected, and what he thinks, which must be freed from.

Marie-Estelle Dupont, psychologist

In this process of self-knowledge, you will then logically have to learn to listen to yourself and accept a non-idealized image of yourself and your abilities.

At the key?

Being able to refuse simply because you don't feel able to.

Respond to their own needs

Cultivating a healthy selfishness also means “understanding and remembering that you are solely responsible for your needs, and the only person in the world who can meet them,” insists Lucile Bourdin, clinical psychologist.

In practice, it is necessary to find the right balance between the role of savior and that of victim.

"The savior spends his time taking care of others instead of taking care of himself, the victim, on the other hand, expects the other to guess his needs and meet them for him", illustrates the psychologist.

Be flexible

Respecting one's limits does not necessarily mean forgetting or neglecting the other.

In the same way, being firm and specific about your needs does not mean categorically refusing any proposal.

Healthy selfishness consists in being careful to remain open to compromise, to be flexible, so that everyone is satisfied.

We are solely responsible for their needs, and the only person in the world who can meet them.

Lucile Bourdin, clinical psychologist

Within a relationship, whether friendly or romantic for example, "take the time to think about what is non-negotiable for you, to avoid pretense, and on the rest, be flexible", comments Marie - Estelle Dupont.

It is also important to accept that our needs are different from those of the other.

The psychologist concludes: “the healthy egoist is able to coexist with the other, to take charge of himself while tolerating that his partner functions differently”.

Source: lefigaro

All life articles on 2022-11-29

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