Personal strategist Charly Emery explains when it is beneficial to think in a selfish manner when engaging in a relationship.
I bet you’re wondering what is the distinction between putting you first and being selfish - do you think they’re are same thing? I got news for you; they are not. Now don’t you think there’s a reason why when you are on an airplane they tell you put your oxygen mask on first before helping others? There’s a reason for that, because you need to have enough oxygen to make sure that the help that you need to give to someone else will be there, and the same thing goes for you. If you don’t take care of yourself and you don’t figure out how to be your best no matter what you are giving to other people, it’s always less than what you could give.
So putting yourself is actually not about being selfish; it’s about looking more long-term. It’s about identifying who it is that you want to be and how you want to operate in the world and making sure that you can actually be that person and do that.
So actually, more of the time when you are selfish you are going to do something that’s very short-term and usually it doesn’t have good consequences. When you put you first you think about the consequences; you look at your life and you say, “How am I setting up my day and how is this going to impact my family? Does it mean that I am going to be grouchy and short when they come home, or am I looking at my schedule and making choices that were going to also enable me to not only come home and feel better myself, but come home and be more for my family.” There’s an example where putting you first changes the dynamic of your entire family existence.