Learning to be Selfish; Take the Ice Cream

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My work has afforded me a few things that I didn’t know it could until they did; I learned to be selfish. Properly.

That may sound really wrong as if I’m advocating narcissism or any other toxicity. But hear me out. Hear out my point of view of selfishness.

Much like any other thing in life, I believe that being selfish is not black and white. There are times when it’s necessary to put yourself above something or someone else. That is, in its essence, selfish. Think about it. And then let me tell you, we’ve never considered self-protection, self-worth, self-love or anything of the nature as bad. These are things that we have either held high for forever or are starting to realize are important.

Mental health is important. It’s not bad.

There are different takes to being selfish, of course. And there are many more ways at approaching it negatively, or shall I say, easier ways.

DTIY Baylee Jae | Aug 10, 2018

Growing up, I hesitated quite often to point out things I wanted… like ice cream.

My sisters tell me this story every few years when they remember. (And maybe I’m remember some details off, but the point remains.)

We were walking down, maybe Santa Monica, my siblings and I, with our relatively rich uncle and his son. We came across an ice cream vendor, and he asked each of us if we wanted any. My sisters and I grew up restricted, told, and reminded that we must mind others. So we minded them a lot.

Definitely a lot more than we should’ve.

So therefore it stands to reason that we would think at that moment not to inconvenience our uncle. My brother did not grow up the same. He doesn’t (visually) hesitate to ask for something. (Or didn’t. Because we can learn not to be selfish.)

My sister remembers this story a lot, and I can see why. That day, our uncle bought my brother and his son each a scoop or two of ice cream in a cone. My sisters and I had none.

In the Filipino tradition, 3 times we must be asked to do something or to have something.

It’s a mannerism akin to taking off your shoes when going into someone’s house or bringing a gift for the host of the dinner. It’s being polite and considerate.

But even when asked three times, we still hesitate.

My point is, we hesitated a lot to take anything for ourselves. I hesitated a lot. And growing up in an environment where I hesitated left and right made me afraid to move forward.

So, learn to be selfish, here and there for the betterment of you. Don’t hinder yourself at the expense of your own health. Accept the ice cream every now and again. It’s okay.

My work has taught me how to be selfish.

I learned how to reach out to people because I need them and not only because they need me. I learned that it’s okay to want things, even the monetary stuff because I need them. They make my work easier. And therefore, I stress less. It’s okay that sometimes, I move in a way that benefits only me.

I don’t need to be Mother Teresa. The world is not for me to cradle every day. It’s not my sole purpose nor is it my sole responsibility. So every now and again, I am selfish. BUT do remember, the world also does not belong to us. Remember to care for it and be aware of what you put out there.

Everything in life is a dichotomy.

Also, it’s not black and white!


  1. Bravo! A big part of maturity, is reviewing, questioning, accepting or rejecting, all of the social programming given to us as we grew. You are well on your way to finding truth 😉

    1. Retrospection is something I like to do, and I’m always happy to see what I can improve in myself by doing so. 😊

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