The Selfish Generation

“Be selfish”

“Always put yourself first”

“You don’t owe anybody any explanation”

“You have a right not to forgive them”

Here I describe common sentiments of what I call ‘the selfish generation’ i.e. the generation that both you and I find ourselves living in. This is the generation that encourages cutting people off, being cold to people that hurt you, having disregard for others, and generally just looking at the world through the lens of yourself, your emotions and nothing else.

It is the generation that sees exercising forgiveness and vulnerability as weak. It is the generation that looks down on you for putting someone else before you. It is the generation that tells you that you can and should be anything you want to be, even if getting there is at the expense of others.

Many people see nothing wrong with this viewpoint of life, and this, I totally understand. There are many scenarios where putting the needs of others before yourself has led to you being a victim of hurt. There are many scenarios where people have taken advantage of your selflessness, leaving you feeling empty and asking the never-ending echoing question “What’s the point?”. I understand. I understand because I have been there and have felt this pain and the subsequent emotions that follow. It sucks. But what’s new?

No really, what’s new? If you allow every time somebody has hurt you to change your character for the worst, were you ever really secure in yourself in the first place? People will hurt you. That is just the way life goes. Pitying yourself to the degree that your self-pity is now inflicting others ain’t it at all. You got hurt. Deal with your emotions. Feel every fluctuation and oscillation of your pain. Cry as long as you need to and lament over the fact that the person who hurt you took you for granted. Then get up and move on. Change for the better. Decide what measures to take to ensure that you act wiser next time. Because a next time will happen and if you spend your whole life mutating to protect yourself from the ‘next times’, you will live a very unfulfilling life.

One of the biggest lies I have heard being promoted all over the internet is that this life is about you and nobody else. Cap. We were not made to be alone. 1) Our biology is proof of this and 2) so is our social structure. We are all born into and out of families, beyond our choice, because nobody is meant to be alone. (Granted, sometimes families are unstable or do not work, but that is their grand purpose). We are born into communities in order to build more bonds. There is not a single man on earth who can survive without the existence of others. We need people. We need them for mental reasons, for physical reasons, for emotional reasons – for damnright everything. Humans are an interdependent species and trying to pretend that this is not true for you is living in denial.

I am not saying that putting yourself first sometimes is a bad thing, of course not. Sometimes we need to do this for our own mental health. But for the majority of people, contributing to another person’s happiness has a reciprocating effect. Most people gain a sense of joy from bringing joy to another person. It is somewhat the essence of our being. It makes us feel more accepted, more worthy, more ‘enough’ (Depending on this to bring you joy is not something I agree with but that is a topic for another day). It is this general selflessness that bring us joy and allows us to take pleasure in putting others first. But you must realise that with most rewards, there is a risk. There is a risk that when you go out of your way to do good for somebody, they will spit it in your face. There is a risk that they will bite the hand that feeds them. But this risk has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them, so changing who you are because of the actions of another person really makes no sense. But sometimes we do this, out of fear and as a protection mechanism. If this is where you find yourself now, just think upon what you believe you have gained that outweighs the gain your previous self had?

It is this same selfish mentality that makes us cut people off without any prior notice or suddenly give somebody the cold shoulder when they have done nothing but extend warmth to us. It is this selfishness that justifies these actions in our head. You are acting selfishly to protect yourself but really, it is you who is being hurt the more. Every time you see that person’s face, something in you goes sour..meanwhile, they are living their life totally ignorant to your pain. Every time you hear their name, you get quietly angry, but they simply think you just stopped wanting to be their friend without reason. Because you owe nobody any explanation , right? Please, who are you really hurting here? Let’s be real.

If somebody has hurt you, tell them. It is different if you have told them in the past or tried to and they always shut you off or do not listen. In those cases, I encourage you to put yourself first and move on – because you have genuinely tried. But if you have not tried, you are in the wrong. And I am speaking to myself as I write this too. You cannot expect a baby to drop the cookie if you never told them they were not allowed to eat it in the first place. Any person who would get angry at a baby in this scenario would be considered illogical and strange. Infact, people might even be concerned about their mental state. The person you are angry at might as well be a baby if they are ignorant to the matter you are silently beefing them over. You are harbouring unforgiveness in your heart towards them, meanwhile they are eating the cookie without guilt. Even in a case where common sense should tell them that eating the cookie is bad, you saying it will at least allow it to be put in record, so that no excuse could be made from then on. If they do not listen after that, appropriate measures can be taken (because you are not a mug), but that still does not mean you should not forgive. Note: you can forgive someone without them ever saying sorry. In my opinion, this is one of the most character-building things a person can do.

So…dear selfish generation, I would just like to know what you really gain from this ‘me, me, me’ lifestyle. What about it makes you a happier person? And I don’t mean superficially happy, I mean deep deep down. I agree with being selfish if it means caring enough about your emotions to choose to forgive and love your friend anyway (even from a distance). But even that, I don’t know if I would call it selfish, maybe I would even call it selfless..because genuine forgiveness is always felt on both ends of the table – both for their forgiver and the forgiven. Remember, sometimes your forgiveness to a person might be what will push them to confront their issues, humble themselves and change.

If you have any adverse thoughts, I would be interested in hearing them in the comments. You can comment anonymously too. Similarly, if you have had any experiences where forgiveness has surprisingly benefited you, I would like to hear about it too.


It was suggested to me to create audio versions of blog posts for people who may be too busy to read, for people who may have reading disabilities or for those who simply prefer to listen. Let me know what you guys think of this.

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