Published: 01st May 2021
I (India) first or US (USA) first? Why it's okay to put yourself first when you're getting nothing in return
Is it okay to put yourself first? The Coach lists out the reasons why it’s okay to be assertively selfish when you’re getting nothing in return
A friend in need is a friend indeed. Who’s not to be remembered only when there is a need!” is one of the 50 quotes based on old proverbs that I had written in my 50th special column. I just couldn’t help remembering this when the United States of America was dilly-dallying and in fact, refused initially, to send us the raw materials required for the manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines. Just a year ago, when there was an URGENT and COLLOSAL need for Hydroxy Chloroquine (HCQ) tablets, India manufactured and supplied fifty million tablets without batting an eyelid to help the US fight the pandemic. This got me wondering: Is it okay to be selfish? Yes! But not in the way that I’ve mentioned above. But on the contrary, it’s okay to be what I call ASSERTIVELY SELFISH. Confused? Don’t be! I’m trying to iterate that it’s okay to be selfish when you’re sure that your own survival, well-being and peace are being threatened. To make it even more simple, it’s perfectly okay to be selfish when another selfish person is negatively affecting you in any way. Then, is it even considered selfishness in the first place? No! What I actually mean when I say assertive selfishness is the practice of prioritising ourself first over others and other things.
It’s ourself first, ourselves second. So when is it okay to prioritise myself ? I have developed my own mnemonic that is not only easy to remember but covers the most important indicators to observe, when it’s time to take a step back and focus on yourself. “Going through a ONEWAY on the HIGH ROAD is only making me FALL REPEATEDLY, I EXIST but NOT TO OTHERS and hence DREW THE LINE.” ONE-WAY: When favours are only one way from your end but it’s clear that you aren’t getting any in return when you’re in dire straits. HIGH ROAD: In spite of taking the most moral path, you still feel unappreciated or taken for granted.
FALL REPEATEDLY: When you are repeatedly let down by the same people who ensure that it’s a one-way with you and vanish when you expect them to return the favour. I usually fall three times before I vanish from their lives. I EXIST but NOT TO OTHERS: When your needs are blatantly ignored or not considered. It’s as if you’re invisible when you’re not required to do something. DREW THE LINE: Simply put, it means establishing boundaries and be clear on how much you’re ready to give before you call it quits. I’ve travelled one-way for decades on the high road. I still fall repeatedly and I guess it’s by choice as I just can’t stop helping people who make me vulnerable to manipulation and exploitation. The one superpower that’s keeping me going is that I exist to others only when I choose to. Otherwise, I’m invisible and even if they are desperate, they can never reach me. Once I draw the line, it’s for eternity.