When it comes to improving yourself, there are a number of actions you must take that will initially appear selfish. But inherently speaking, is self improvement selfish?
In order to change yourself, you must devote a lot of time to self-care. Such time means not helping others and focusing solely on your own personal goals. Therefore, some may assume such actions are selfish.
However, your goals for self-improvement will largely dictate whether or not your actions are selfish. For example, if your goal is to be a better overall person, you’ll likely have a positive (non-selfish) effect on those around you.
Throughout this article, we’re going to take a deeper look at why self care isn’t selfish. Furthermore, we’ll look into examples of when self-care becomes selfish. At the end, we invite you to ask further questions.
The Act of Self-Improvement is NOT Selfish
“It is not selfish to put yourself first when you create your life. When you take time for yourself, you make everything around you better.”Tom Anderson
While self-improvement is tied directly to oneself, it has a rippling effect on those around you. Simply put, the more positive of an effect you have on yourself, the more you will on those around you.
Let’s take a look at an easy example. If your self-improvement journey involves a healthy morning routing (i.e. meditation and a nutritious meal) that’s met by a good night’s sleep, you’ll naturally feel better throughout the day. Through feeling better, you’ll likely come of as kinder and more generous to those around you.
Naturally, this example will not be the case with everyone. Our personalities are extremely versatile and our reaction to environment will differ depending on circumstances. For example, if you’ve made a genuine effort to improve yourself and those around you continue to put you down, you may react with anger and frustration.
Due to the complexity of human nature, the goal of self-improvement should remain simple. We are looking to live happier lives in the hopes of having a positive effect on those around us.
Through personal happiness, we’re more likely to interact with the world in a happier manner. For example, happiness may make you feel more generous and that generosity can lead to other’s happiness. ¹
The Importance of Interrelationships in Self-Growth
Some may be concerned that certain acts of self-improvement will be viewed as selfish. For example, someone who strives for more financial freedom may feel such successes come at a selfish tendency. However, they don’t always have to.
In the case of improving your professional life, you’ll have the opportunity to continue improving the lives of those around you. For example, financial freedom gives you the chance to donate more money to charity.
This brings us to the topic of interrelationships and how they’re a key part of independence. While some may assume that relying on others is the opposite of independence, it can play an integral role in improving yourself.
Being a resource to others and having them as a resource to you is an essential part of being apart of a community. ² It can help you to share and develop a sense of meaning with others. And it can help you to improve upon yourself in ways you may not have previously considered.
For example, by developing interrelationships, you may meet someone who is a pro at a hobby you’re looking to improve upon. With their knowledge, you can expand your own personal development and, in turn, better yourself.
Naturally, such interrelationships require you to make personal changes. Ones that are sourced in good habits rather than bad ones. Consider if you spend large amounts of time watching television and how much of that time you can be using to improving a hobby you’ve always wanted to invest in.
While self-improvement may be seen as selfish, if your intentions are in the right place, it can be anything but. By taking care of yourself, you’re offering yourself the potential to be in a better position to take care of others. Such positivity can have a rippling effect that goes far beyond selfishness.
Still wondering is self-improvement selfish? Have other related questions?
We invite you to ask them in the comments section below. If you have any further knowledge to share – whether personal or professional – we’d also love to hear from you.
¹ Nature Communications: A neural link between generosity and happiness
² frontiers in Psychology: Interrelationships and Methods for Improving University Students’ Sense of Gain, Sense of Security, and Happiness