The definition of selfish is an adjective describing a person, action, or motive that is lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s profit or pleasure. It is a word to typically describe something in a negative tone. To begin, let’s explain the most common use of describing selfishness. This can be in the form of backstabbing or going against your friends and peers to gain more favor or praise from others, usually spectators or people of higher status or something as small as stealing or hoarding food from a younger sibling, I stole a bunch of food from my younger brother and still do today.
During Covid-19, our schedules changed drastically and everyone worldwide had to adapt to the situation to move on with our daily lives. But what about our lives as an individual? Our personas as professionals, workers, and students had adapted, we have transitioned from offices and school buildings to Zoom calls online. However, how did we, as an individual, adapt? We all have our hopes and dreams, passions to pursue, and our morality and we find ourselves during this time doing our own thing, spending less time with others, changing our dreams, and scrolling through TikTok. One can argue that pursuing these things is a form of selfishness because to an extent, these are things that we are doing for ourselves. But are these forms of selfishness necessarily bad?
We are told that being selfish is bad or told that we are selfish in a bad context, by either a parent or someone we look up to. I have been told this my whole life from my parents and it can be frustrating at some points. In most cases. there was nothing that felt wrong to me about the things I did that my parents called me out for. But as I got older, I accepted it because there is a duality that exists between the two forms of selfishness, the good and the bad. To be clear, I’m not stating that selfishness is not bad at all, that would be untrue to myself and many others. However, it is a word that society treats as a bad characteristic and that I find is the most infuriating aspect of the word.
Mental health has been historically ignored as a sort of an excuse. I think what people commonly think of is their value; it could be their value as a person or to society, but it is a major factor in mental health and the stress of that can be overwhelming. Stress, in general, can be overwhelming too and I think people tend to forget that there should be time for yourself, time to release all that stress, time to forget about your issues temporarily.
Personally, before Covid-19, the only real-time I had for myself was at the gym. You can focus on yourself and the truth of the gym is that no one cares what anyone else is doing. It is all about the gains in the gym, it’s all about you. By definition this is selfish, but I realized how important the time at the gym was to me. It relieved all that stress from school. I still persist with my parents to let me get a gym membership again since the gym has reopened. The gym allowed me to start building goals, benching just the bar to slowly make my way up to 135 and higher. I set standards for myself such as my form in certain exercises and most importantly, build confidence that I never thought I would have. But it’s clear that this selfish time is a good thing, yet the word itself is used in a bad manner.
I am selfish in hoarding all the snacks to myself. I am selfish in cutting people off from my life and I am selfish in prioritizing my time over others. I don’t believe selfishness is a bad thing. If that selfishness is not affecting anyone in a bad way, then I think it’s fine. Sometimes being selfish can be a necessity, but it is a shame that society sees it negatively, but from all the time I had during Covid-19, being selfish can also be a good thing, for your mind, your body, and yourself.