Ever since I got to college, my mom has been telling me “now is the time to be a little selfish," but I never knew what she meant. I have never been the type of person who puts myself before others, it's physically impossible for me. I'm not trying to sound “holier than thou," but the experiences I have been in have simply shaped how I value others needs. That being said, when my mom told me this the first few times I instantly blew her off.
However, things in my life began to go a little topsy turvey and I started to understand what she meant. She wasn't simply saying for me to write everyone off and do my own thing, she was explaining to me that in order for me to accomplish the goals I have set, I'm going to have to put my needs higher up on my list of priorities.
For example, I cannot say no to a job. When employers or volunteer members approach me, I am easily convinced that I should help or work under them. Since joining college, I've had to quit countless jobs and it's absolutely crushed me. I hate letting people down, and I know that's exactly what I'm doing. But for the sake of my sanity, if a job doesn't fit my needs right now I've realized it's better to quit now than to do the bare minimum and disappoint them continually. By stepping down I'm giving these employers the opportunity to find someone who can better meet their needs.
It's better to do my best in a few areas than stretch myself way too thin and not meet the qualifications in anything, and that's what my mom was trying to tell me. There's nothing wrong with being selfish when determining your future, as long as you understand why you're doing it.
That's being said, I am not advocating to be a wrecking ball and screw people over because they aren't benefiting you at that moment. I believe that is wrong and I will never advocate for that. There's a difference between knowing your limits and testing others.
When choosing your future, you should think through the path you're choosing to go down and how you're going to pull it off.
My freshman year I was spreading myself way too thin and I was not happy or healthy. I was putting others needs before my own to the point that I couldn't function as a human being, and it was seriously detrimental. Going into this year, I had to evaluate my decisions so that I could prevent this from happening and it's the best thing I've ever done.
At the end of the day, I think it's important that you distinguish others wants from others needs. It's still important to be a kind helping hand to others, but don't destroy yourself in order to do it. People will understand if you say “I need to step back and take a breath" if they're genuine about their intentions. And in those situations, I believe it's okay to be a little selfish.