Being called selfish doesn’t feel like a compliment, but the trait can actually make you a better person, psychology experts say.
“When you take care of yourself first, you show up as a healthy, grounded person in life,” says Bob Rosen, author of Grounded: How Leaders Stay Rooted in an Uncertain World (Jossey-Bass, 2013).
Oriented around survival, Rosen says it’s in our nature to take care of our own needs first. The instinct eventually got a bad rap, however, and became the source of negative emotions like fear and guilt.
“As we evolved, we developed higher order needs, [such as] becoming community centered,” he says. “Our theory of human development is based on a model that you’re either selfish or you’re community oriented. The truth is that you need to be both. It’s not an either-or.”
Melissa Deuter, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, agrees. “Selfish is an ugly word but it can mean two different things,” she says. “One connotation is that you’re unkind and inconsiderate of others. The other is that you take responsibility for getting your personal, emotional and physical needs met, and that’s an important part of becoming an adult.”. Continue reading.
Originally posted on Fast Company.