When you read this title, it probably comes off as a little deceiving. After all, why would someone be trying to encourage a quality that usually has such a negative connotation? HOW RUDE!

Well perhaps "selfish" isn't the best word to describe what I am trying to portray. The average person assumes that this truly is a trait to avoid, but becoming selfish does not always necessarily mean that you are disregarding others or being a bad person. Sometimes "selfish" is simply more about "self-love" and "self-worth."

People think that you can just randomly stumble into the perfect life or perfect relationship. But how can you live "happily ever after" if you aren't even happy with who you are? I am a firm believer that the only way you can truly be happy and healthy in your relationships with others is to first have a strong relationship with yourself. A sense of self-worth allows you to demand the treatment that you deserve, and forms a foundation for the way that you live the rest of your life.

So, throughout my life, these are the lessons I have learned about becoming selfish. It is not always an easy path to take, because selflessness and putting others first are traits that are highly romanticized. The key is finding balance, and here is how you may begin to do just that:

1. Believing in yourself and being self confident. When you work hard towards achieving a goal, whether academically, socially, physically, or in a career, you often seek the validation of others. This is human nature, and no one can ever completely eliminate the desire to have some sort of praise. However, it is more important to have faith in your abilities and to enter every opportunity saying, "I can do this, even if someone else has told me that I can't." Confidence is half the battle on the way to success, and no one else can create this self-esteem for you.

2. Not overthinking.We are all guilty of lying awake at night, imagining what we would have done differently, and analyzing every minor detail of our lives. It's hard to avoid, but sometimes it creates unhealthy inner tension. Becoming selfish means following your heart, but in a way that is healthy for you. Of course, many important decisions require thought, but often times, your gut feeling can be a good one. Follow your best judgment. Your conscience is telling you these things for a reason.

3. Don't be a pushover. How many times have you done something just because you are scared of disappointing people. There is a fine line between being loyal and responsible and letting yourself be walked all over like a welcome mat. People tend to take advantage of someone that never says no. When you entirely sacrifice your own wellbeing, you may also be sacrificing your integrity and your personal health. It's okay to do things that are out of your comfort zone, but it is also okay to say no before you bite off more than you can chew.

4. Don't feel guilty about cutting ties.Everyone you meet serves a certain purpose in your life. Some are meant to be lifelong, healthy companions, while others merely teach you an important lesson. If you feel like someone might be a bad friend, or is constantly putting you down, THEY PROBABLY ARE. You don't have to settle for toxicity in your relationships. People come and go, so trust your intuition. It has more value than you might think.

5. Find your individual standards of happiness.It is important to realize that "selfish" has a different definition for each person. If making other people happy makes you happy, that's fine. If being completely alone to binge-watch Netflix does the trick sometimes, then that's okay too. The moral is to live for yourself and to make decisions that make you feel fulfilled. When you begin to live for other people, and feel guilty about choices that benefit you, you have crossed a fine line. You can't please everyone, but you can please yourself and the people who care for you the most.

6. Remember to be open and receptive to others' feelings.Putting yourself first doesn't mean putting others last. You don't have to put someone down, hurt their feelings, or neglect them, just for your own gain, especially those who treat you well. "Selfish" in this sense doesn't mean making decisions that knowingly hurt someone on a personal level. You don't want to eliminate the desire to do good for others or to make them happy. You just cannot sacrifice your own wellbeing in the process.

At the end of the day, my personal version of "becoming selfish" involves finding your self-worth and making it a priority. It means letting go of things that make you feel less worthy or positive. All my life, I have been a criminal of putting myself last. But as I've gotten older, my eyes have been opened to the realities of life. It is an unfortunate truth that people often take advantage of someone who never knows when to say no. Once you learn how to draw that personal line, you can weed out the people around you who are only using you for insincere reasons.

Once you allow your inner happiness to blossom, and you self-love to become a priority, you will attract the right attention. Your friends, significant others, and family can never supplement this feeling because it comes from deep within your soul. Your sense of self-worth will radiate out and will allow you to prioritize in a way that will form the best, healthiest, most genuine relationships. Although we often see a damsel in distress being saved by a valiant knight, we forget that there are times when you must save yourself. Your happy ending is within reach, as long as your happiness starts with YOU.