Is Selfish a Good Thing?

My friends and some of my family members think I am selfish because I am honest with them when I don’t want to do something or attend a function I’m invited to. They tell me I only think of myself, I only do things for myself, and that if I’m not careful I’m going to find myself all alone one day soon.  I’m conflicted because I don’t want to hurt their feelings, or be disliked or alone, but I don’t feel I’m in the wrong for speaking my truth.  How do I make them understand?

Julia, London


Hi Julia,

I’ve heard it be said that selfishness is the vibrational alignment with self, and that is never a bad thing.  I happen to see selfishness as a good thing, actually, when used in the right context.  Everyone is responsible for themselves, and most unhappiness comes from the belief that we are responsible for the happiness and well-being of others.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful thing to bring happiness and well-being to others, by doing so we receive the same thing.  But the distinction lies is whether or not we are responsible to do so.  We’re not.  Each soul on this planet came here with its own agenda, to experience particular things, and each soul knows what it’s doing.  Therefore, being “selfish”, or as I look at it, paying special attention to the soul’s desire or agenda, is not a bad thing at all.

So what if doing what’s best for you, or “being selfish” appears to hurt another?  I’ve also heard it be said to “speak your truth, yet soothe your words with peace.”  Take a moment to evaluate how you are speaking your truth to others.  Do you sometimes come across as harsh, indignant, condescending maybe?  If so, ask yourself how you can soothe your words with peace when expressing what you desire.  In terms of “making them understand”, well, I’m afraid that’s just not possible, Julia.  We can’t make anyone do anything – remember, it is not we who are responsible for the reaction of another, that is completely up to them.  But there is great comfort and peace in knowing that you have been true to yourself, you have spoken your truth with great kindness and compassion, and have chosen to show up as authentically you, regardless of how another chooses to react.  There is also great freedom in allowing another their own experience.  It’s one of the best gifts you can give another.

Also keep in mind that when people are upset with you, or don’t like something you are doing, you are giving them the gift of deciding who they are in respect to that.  And they’re reaction to you gives you the same opportunity.  And finally, sometimes we simply “grow in a different direction” with some people in our lives, when the purpose of your relationship has been served.  You may want to take a moment to ask yourself the difficult question of whether or not that applies to some of the people you are referring to.  And if this continues to be in an issue, this lack of understanding one another, that is, with certain people who you’d like to keep in your life, consider getting some counseling or a mediator involved to help close that gap in understanding.

This isn’t an easy topic, this business of relating with those closest to us, it’s always a bit of a hot button.  But remember that you are responsible for YOU and only you, and if you are making choices from a place of authenticity, honesty and alignment, than you’re doing pretty darn well as far as I’m concerned.  Hope this helps.

P.S. You may want to read about the 5 Levels of Truth, covered in “When Everything Changes, Change Everything”.  It offers great clarity around all of this speaking our truth to others business.

(Nova Wightman is a CWG Life Coach, as well as the owner and operator of Go Within Life Coaching,, specializing in helping individuals blend their spirituality with their humanity in a way that makes life more enjoyable, easy, and fulfilling.  She can be reached at )

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