Prioritizing Yourself vs. Selfishness
Protecting your peace and ridding yourself of toxicity

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You should never be made to feel selfish for prioritizing yourself and protecting your peace. So, why do we so often feel that way?

I’m not necessarily talking about deliberate selfishness and putting your needs above everyone else’s at all costs. That is a separate issue. I’m talking about emotionally or physically separating yourself from people/things that don’t uplift and support you in your decisions and life. 

Have you ever had that one friend that can’t seem to be happy for you no matter how hard you try to please them? You get a new job, fall in love with somebody, move to a new city and you are excited, yet they can’t seem to want you to be happy. Maybe it’s in the form of snide remarks or constant blame for unavailability. You can only stretch yourself so thin for somebody before you need to reevaluate the value they are bringing into your life. 

Repeat after me: You are not selfish for protecting your energy, your mental health and your peace.

If you are doing things that make you happy, if you are content with your life and the people you are surrounded by, there really is no reason to keep toxic people in your life. It does not make you a selfish person to want to surround yourself with people that love, care and uplift you. 

Now, I am not saying to be mean to this friend/person and “ghost” them. If you find yourself really wanting to keep this person in your life, try having a conversation with them about how you feel. They might not even know the impact their attitude is having on you. But, if the pattern of behavior seems to continue, distance yourself slowly from them and let the relationship fizzle out naturally. It might seem “selfish” to do so, but we only live one life. Why waste it on people that do not uplift and support you?

Ultimately, you have the choice to live the life you wish to live, surrounded by caring and supportive people that care about you and your goals. They should have morals and values that align with your own, and they can be happy for you no matter what. 

Protecting your peace and letting toxic people go does not make you a selfish person or a bad friend. Sometimes, people are in your life only for a certain period to teach you something, to support you or for you to grow from. It ultimately is up to you to decide who you want in your life, what kind of energy you want to be surrounded with and how much you are willing to sacrifice for the sake of your own mental health. 

It might feel like a loss once you rid yourself of toxic people and that is OK. You can feel sad and mourn the relationship you once had. But, you can grow from that relationship by knowing who you want to surround yourself with and how those people make you feel about yourself. 

Again, repeat after me: You are not selfish for protecting your energy, mental health and your peace.


About Author

Sophia is interning this summer at RWM. She will be a junior at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where she studies journalism and English. She is excited to be spending this upcoming fall semester studying abroad in Ireland!

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