The Benefits of Being Selfishness

When I was eleven, I visited my grandparents at their summer beach home in California. When we stopped by the gift shop, I picked out trinkets for my parents and siblings. I didn’t asked for anything for myself. Throughout my entire life, people always commented on or recalled stories of my selflessness and, for years, that was something I was proud of.

When we live in a state of perpetual altruistic concern, refusing to speak up for ourselves and generally being doormats, we are practicing what one Tibetan Buddhist teacher called β€œidiot compassion.” This takes place when, while trying to display compassion, we allow others to walk all over us. It typically happens when we are trying to avoid conflict. However, it quickly becomes evident that there is no compassion involved in such interactions.

Research suggests that compassionate, generous people are happier, healthier, more popular, and more successful. Yet, we must all practice some level of self-interest. Selfishness gets a bad rap, but there is a healthy form of self-centeredness that emerges when we feel the feel the need to say “no” to others, and follow through on that desire.

I have always been selfless to a fault. I’ve been a doormat, a pushover, and a kind-hearted coward. Five years ago, a traumatic experience taught me a valuable lesson and I realized I my idiot compassion was a huge disservice to myself. That’s what I will talking about today on The Heart of the Matter.

12 thoughts on “The Benefits of Being Selfishness

    1. I have some Irish heritage and thus some familiarity with the Claddagh history and symbolism, but I’m all ears if you have a good resource for further research.


  1. What a great reflection – and I love your inclusion of “idiot compassion.” This sentence really stood out “However, it quickly becomes evident that there is no compassion involved in such interactions.”

    That makes so much sense – because it’s not really compassion, it’s something akin to cultivating an appearance or avoidance as you suggest. Yes, self-care is absolutely necessary in order to be most good things in life! Great post!


  2. Self-love and self-care come first, if you are in a bad shape you can’t really help your neighbor if the need arises. I am all for healthy selfishness, if the mother is happy all the family is happy. If the mother is mad, no way you can enjoy your day, this is how it was in my childhood at least.
    Mama bear needs self-care.
    Mama bear goes nowhere.
    Mama bear’s love is fair.


Comments are closed.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: