Is it wrong to be self-centred?

You might be looking at this blog article right now and thinking: “Evelina, what are you talking about? Of course, it is wrong to be self-centred.” 

Truth be told, being self-centred can actually help you feel free and happy and this post will show you why. By the end of this article, I can guarantee that you will look at the term “self-centeredness” differently. 

What does the term “self-centred mean”? How is it different from the term “selfish”?

When we think about a selfish person, it usually means that they not only prioritise their own needs, but also disregard other peoples’ feelings and needs. 

But when we think about a self-centred person it means that they are prioritising their needs and thinking about themselves as the main character but they are not necessarily disregarding the needs of others. They are just into themselves. In addition, people who are self-centred are self-sufficient (independent). 

The diagram below demonstrates the key differences and common elements of selfishness and self-centeredness. 

selfishness vs self-centered

Why are people self-centred? 

Like it or not, all people are self-centred to some extent. Some more, some less. There is no person in the world who only puts other people first. Furthermore, if that were the case, they would not survive for long. 

Prioritising yourself over others is like a survival instinct. Imagine if you and your friend were to starve and you would give all of your last food to them. You would not survive. 

Why being a self-centred person can make you happier? My story. 

Years ago, I used to be a completely different person. I was very introverted, shy to talk to pretty much everyone, and struggled with low self-esteem. I always tried to please others and do what was best for them (even if they did not return the favour). I felt bad while others took my willingness to help for granted. 

As the time went by I experienced break-ups and friends leaving me. That was a wake-up call for me. I started to see what I did not see before. For example:

  • People are thinking about themselves first (no matter how much you try to do for them).
  • People were taking advantage of my good nature. 
  • Not everyone in the world will like you. You cannot get along with everyone. Those who don’t simply shouldn’t be in your life. Period. 

I started to think: “If everyone is putting themselves first, why shouldn’t I do the same?”

Now I am a completely different person. I am more extroverted, willing to network and socialise with people. In addition, I feel self-assured and I respect myself. I feel a lot happier than I ever did before. 

I can admit that I am a self-centred person, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t care about others. Thus, it is not necessarily a bad thing. As previously mentioned, in non-extreme cases it is not harmful to others. It can even be viewed as a positive trait. It just means that you are self-sufficient and have respect for yourself. 

The moment that you stop spending every waking moment thinking about what will others think of you, what if you did something wrong and that you must always help others, you will feel the following things: freedom, self-assurance and peace. 

My final thoughts.

Being self-centred may sound like a bad thing, but that is only true in extreme cases when it is a disorder. Prioritising yourself can be even considered a form of self-care. In addition, it can potentially help you build your self-esteem and achieve inner peace.