Why Living Your Way Is Not Selfish

Simple living, your way

Most of us learned early in life to put others’ needs before our own.  We feel a little uncomfortable when we start thinking about doing things to help ourselves.  We’re taught that thinking of our own needs is selfish, but how can you do your best for others if you don’t take care of yourself?

Living your way is just fine—as long as you do it right.

This focus on the importance of living “your way” may seem as if I’m promoting a narcissistic approach to life—one in which you go around doing only what makes you happy. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

What is Your Way?

“Your way” does not mean that you get to sacrifice the needs of others so you can do as you please.

“Your way” does not mean you get to sit around navel-gazing rather than doing the dishes.

“Your way” does not mean that you forego responsible planning for your future and your loved ones.

“Your way” does not mean hedonism.

“Your way” is not a license to be a jerk.

“Your way” really means self-awareness and self-acceptance.

It means understanding what you truly want in life, not in terms of material goods or accolades, but in terms of your relationships, your lifestyle, your contribution to the world. It means recognizing your particular habits and working around the not-so-great ones.

It’s not the fleeting happiness you get when you buy the latest gadget or trendy top. It’s the enduring, deep-down satisfaction you get from a dinner conversation with your kids or a day spent in the sun.

Your way means knowing who you are, who you love, and how to live the life that will leave you feeling fulfilled in a meaningful way. 

Living your way is about capturing meaning and connection, not superficial “accomplishments.” What’s more, it’s about developing your own style, your own strategies, your own day-to-day tricks that help you accomplish what you really want in life. It’s about knowing yourself, then practicing simple, intentional living to accomplish your dreams while being a genuine person in the world.

How Do I Begin?

Today, think about what your way looks like.  Set aside a few minutes to think about what you do well, and what you struggle with.  Are you super creative, yet procrastinate paying bills?  Are you a planner or do you fly by the seat of your pants?

Rather than thinking about your struggles as shortcomings, just write them down with no judgment.  We all have things we’re not great at.  Our plan is to use our strengths to work around those weaker areas, not by criticism and perfectionism, but by acceptance of ourselves as we are.

What better time to start than now?