Being a “Selfish Person” is Not Healthy, Being a “Self-Centered Person” 

‘’Bencil İnsan’’ Değil, ‘’Benci İnsan’’ Olabilmek Sağlıklıdır

Can Be Prioritizing ourselves, being able to say no to things we don’t want, expressing situations we don’t like are often seen as selfishness. If we don’t make it a duty not to hurt anyone, postpone our own desires, and put others above ourselves, we accuse ourselves of selfishness and ingratitude. However, these concepts are not really related to selfishness.

The line that separates selfishness from “being self-centered” is that a person does not dig someone else’s pit, does not violate the rights of others for their own interests, and does not ignore everyone except themselves. Similarly, it is not doing these things to someone else. Selfish people are more like “I enthusiasts” and experience this situation as an addiction. The person is not addicted to a substance, object, or someone else; they are strongly addicted to their own ego. There is a boundary that separates selfishness from self-centeredness. Defending oneself, expressing one’s values, beliefs, feelings from one’s own perspective is not ego addiction; ego addiction is exceeding the dose, a total obsession with the meaning of “Me.” It is the obsession of always being ahead of “Me” in every place, every time, and every condition. Ego addiction is the tension of living with a rigid selfishness, being trapped in the ego, and not being able to get out of the ego patterns. At the same time, it is the inconsistent story of excessive protection of the ego value. Selfish people often use cognitive distortions frequently to make logical explanations to themselves, or rather, to deceive themselves and others.

They are always in a situation of being perfect, right, and the best. They put themselves forward in human relationships. You often hear phrases like “I am right, let it be as I say, I want it this way.” If these needs are not met, significant problems can arise. They can come to a point where they almost disregard others for themselves. There is a great danger in this situation. Empathy disappears completely when the war of the ego is fought; putting oneself in the other’s place, trying to understand their emotions and thoughts completely disappears. Therefore, selfishness can cause difficulties in establishing healthy communication and maintaining social relationships in the long run.

In families, it is important not to feed selfish attitudes, especially in childhood. They need to be more careful about giving wrong advice and guidance to children. Children raised in the mindset of always protecting themselves, wanting to be superior to everyone, always having the mentality of “Me” are young examples of this situation. It is healthy to be able to stay between completely protecting oneself without completely sacrificing one’s own beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors for others; being able to put forward the ego value without completely destroying it. Being able to be self-centered is exactly this, without completely giving up oneself, being able to value the other person, and being able to share love with others while loving oneself first. Without completely erasing our thoughts, we can also listen to the thoughts of others, but if we do not show the respect we have deprived ourselves of, we cannot find it in anyone. Allowing the boundaries we cannot set to be formed by selfish people. Therefore, when we say “Me first,” we should be careful not to say it in a self-centered way. Being self-centered means learning to say no and being able to establish healthy boundaries in our relationships. If we can achieve these without harming others, if we can express what we want and what we need without hesitation, then we are using selfishness in the right way.

Written by:

Psychologist Merve SAVAŞKAN


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