The Positive Sides of Being Selfish

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internship

Editor

Laila Afifa

20 January 2023 08:55 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Being called selfish always doesn't sound like a compliment. The nature of prioritizing personal interests over common interests is considered by the community to have a bad connotation, greed, and self-gain. However, there is a positive side to being selfish in living a social life.

In the essay called "Is Human Nature Basically Selfish", Abraham Maslow argued that one needs to recognize the difference between healthy and unhealthy selfishness. According to him, good selfishness can sometimes turn bad, and vice versa. Good selfishness, in short, comes from not being shy about expressing what they desire.

Maslow stated that an attitude of respect for one's health, lifestyle, happiness, joy, and freedom will have a positive impact, both on oneself and others. On the contrary, a behavior that tries to please others, excessive humility, but not to oneself can have a negative impact.

In line with Maslow's statement, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Melissa Deuter, stated that the orientation toward survival is part of human nature to care for one's self needs first. “If you can't take care of yourself, then you can't take care of anyone else. Being selfish is important,” she said, as quoted from Fast Company.

According to Deuter, acting in self-interest can provide advantages in leadership roles. Usually, selfish people are strongly urged to go after what they want without regret. Selfish people, said Deuter, tend to be more self-confident and less likely to give up on their goals.

Furthermore, Deuter revealed that selfish people are synonymous with behavior that involves spending more time doing activities they like. This is a good example of someone taking care of oneself emotionally. “Putting oneself first is not always negative; it's your job to take care of yourself and achieve what you desire," she said.

Haris Setyawan | Imaji Lasahido

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