How to Find the Balance Between Being Selfless and Selfish

There's a fine line between being too selfless and overly selfish.

We grow up believing we need to be giving to the world and the people we love, but we also have to look out for ourselves in the process.

It's a delicate balance—one that's not the easiest to achieve, but it's not totally impossible to live your life in this sweet spot.

Need a little help doing so? Below are a couple of things you can do to get yourself on track:

Be Solely Selfless One Day and Then Strictly Selfish the Next

Pick one day where you're nothing but selfless. Give all that you have to offer to everyone except yourself. Volunteer, only do what your besties want to do when you hang out, let your siblings choose what you'll have for dinner and so on. Make all the sacrifices you possibly can. Then the next day, do the total opposite. Be as selfish as you've ever been. Only do things that will benefit you. Make decisions for everyone else and don't let anyone stand in your way.

Notice how drained you feel when you're exclusively selfless and how empty you are when you're nothing but selfish? Neither are a good feeling. And as much as you want to help the world by being a good person, you have to also pull back and focus on yourself from time to time.

Participating in this exercise will hopefully help you realize that being selfless and selfish isn't a black and white situation. There's a bit of a grey area that none of us account for. Being selfless often doesn't mean you're a good person and being selfish shouldn't cause others to believe you're a terrible individual. You really have to be both, not one.

Selfish girl next to a selfless girl

(via Shutterstock)


Check in With Yourself

When someone invites you somewhere or you're asked to do something, take a mental note of how you immediately reacted. Were you excited? Nervous? Uninterested? Eager? Those feelings are important to be aware of. If your friend wants to hang out tonight, but you're feeling tired, check in with your body and see if you can handle staying up a little later or if you really need to just be on your own. Don't be afraid to tell your friend you can't go out with them. The same goes for any situation you don't want to be involved in. Yes, this is technically being selfish, but it's for a good reason. You don't want to get involved with anything you weren't feeling in the first place, because it will only make you and everyone around you miserable. And now you're also being selfless. By avoiding this situation, you're allowing others to have a good time. See, it's a win-win.

Girl with eyes closed daydreaming about life

(via Shutterstock)


Communicate Openly

Going off of knowing how you feel, it's important that you express that. You never want to keep your emotions bottled up inside of you, because it is totally detrimental to your well-being. As mentioned above, tell your friends why you don't want to go out tonight or why you've been so distant lately. It will only benefit you by doing so. Plus, they're your friends. They will understand. Honesty goes a long way in any relationship, so don't be afraid to tell it like it is to both yourself and everyone who matters in your life.

Two friends sitting on a couch talking about life

(via Shutterstock)


Another key component in finding this balance is by being a bit kinder to yourself. HERE are a few ways you can do so every day.