A recent thought I had: in order to empower others, you must (first) be selfish.
Empower yourself before empowering others
Let me explain my reasoning.
First of all, before you help others, you must first help yourself. How do you expect to empower others and uplift others if you first don’t empower yourself?
A lot of us (myself included) let ourselves be miserable. We feel guilty/evil/wrong to help ourselves. I think if you’ve been raised Christian, Asian Confucian, or your family has Jewish, Protestant, English roots, you can relate.
In many societies to help yourself (the individual) is seen as antisocial and evil. Why? Of course it’s in the best interest of society, your local community, and your tribe to first take care of the collective. Whenever the individual favors him or herself, the collective feels threatened. Thus we have been trained/indoctrinated ever since we’ve been children that being selfish and self-focused is bad/”evil”.
For myself, I feel my ultimate purpose in life is to empower others and all of humanity (and future generations of humanity). However that’s only my imperative; you shouldn’t feel pressured to follow the same code of ethics as myself. You must dictate your own purpose in life.
Find the time to reflect on what you desire out of life
The sad thing is that so many of us are so busy with work, living, and our families/jobs/duties/obligations that we never have the opportunity or energy to ask ourselves, “What do I want out of life? What do I want to accomplish in life while I’m still alive? What do I think is my purpose in my life, and what do I wish to devote my life to?” Too often than not, we blindly follow the rules/morals/ethics of society, the whims of our parents and family, rather than challenging them.
Being selfish isn’t evil.
To conclude, don’t feel bad, guilty, or” sinful” by being selfish, self-centered, or self-focused. It’s not bad to be selfish.
If you want to be altruistic towards society and humanity, first seek to empower yourself. Be very selfish in that regard.
Ways to be selfish in a positive way:
- Prioritize your own mental and physical health before helping your family, friends, or others. For myself, I must exercise, go to the gym, go on long walks alone, take photos for myself, read, write, make videos, and do creative work. Even if I have some business duties to do or even needing to help Cindy or my family, I first prioritize myself. Because if I first take care of myself, then I will have the positivity, energy, and power to help Cindy, my family, and community.
- Ruthlessly cut and prune away negative people from your life: It doesn’t matter if they’re “friends”, family, or even your job/boss. You must make it your imperative to get rid of all cancerous, negative, and toxic people from your life. I did this with my dad, and I’ve been much happier and productive ever since. And now that I’m in a better mental state after cutting my dad from my life, I’ve been able to be a better husband to Cindy, and friend to all of humanity.
- Empower yourself with the tools, equipment, food, coffee and things which are necessary for you to be productive and create what you desire. Don’t worry about being “wasteful” or “imprudent”. For example, some of us (myself included) feel guilty spending money on ourselves, even if it may improve our lives, because we feel that by spending money on ourselves, we are somehow hurting our family by having less money to spend on them.
Further reading on why we think being selfish is “evil”
To learn and understand more about the virtues of selfishness, I recommend reading:
- The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
- Beyond Good and Evil by Nietzsche
- On the Genealogy of Morals by Nietzsche
- The Antichrist by Nietzsche
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