I was taught from a very young age that it is wrong to be selfish. Selfish people are bad people – they only care about themselves, disregard others’ needs and are spoilt. Simply put – be whatever you want to be, but do not be selfish.
This fear of being (or being seen as) selfish has been growing untamed over the past 30 years and only recently I realised how much it has affected me and my relationships with others. I have accepted bad friendships out of fear that demanding more from my friends would make me seem selfish. I have accepted poor treatment at work because demanding fair pay and fair workload would make me seem selfish. I have put people’s needs before mine, even when these people have been utterly unfair, abusive and selfish themselves. All out of fear of being selfish. All out of fear or feeling like a bad person in situations where any sane observer would have told me I was not in the wrong.