Selfish, Selfless or Selfful?

The belief that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish is misguided. It’s more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted, yet everyone takes the happy person for granted.

― Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

What does the word selfish mean to you? It’s not a positive word, right? According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, selfish is: “concerned excessively or exclusively with oneselfseeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others”

In my opinion, it’s extremely important taking care of yourself first so that you can cultivate more and more love for others in your heart. I think that, as soon as you let go of trying to keep others happy, and put your happiness first, you become a real giver. You see how much you have to share, your heart truly opens, and people start to see a more relaxed, fun, kind, humble person when they look at you. 

I know that we all brought up by our families with the idea of putting others first. That’s what a good person would and should do. But you can put others first for a limited time until you hit your limit. After that point, things start to make you feel frustrated, pissed off, angry, bitter, resentful.

So, maybe we shouldn’t think of this as being selfish or selfless and maybe say we are selfful. This dialogue between an eight years old girl and her mother explains it better than I can with many words:

Mom: “Jenny, you’re so full of your self!”

Jenny: “Who else would I be full of?”

Yes, it is that simple. I wish we would be able to look at things from a child’s perspective all through our lives. By truly being your authentic and connected self, you would do more service to the planet. You would shine a luminous example of joy, freedom and love. You would become a more caring person, a better listener. Speak kindly and positively to and of others, without criticizing, judging or complaining.

Penelope Quest, in her Reiki for Life: A Complete Guide to Reiki Practice book summarizes brilliantly what I try to say with this quote: “Giving yourself some loving attention is not selfish. It is sensible. If you feel loved and cherished – even if it is only by yourself – then you will have more love to give to others, too.”

So, my friends, I dare you to be a little bit more selfish. To love and take care of yourself first and foremost.

Image via PlusLife Health


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Wishing you calm and happiness,


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  1. Happiness is an act of love both for self & others . Great post

  2. […] her blog discussing the concepts of selfish, selfless, and selfful, Ipek Williamson relates a conversation between a mother and her 8-year old daughter. […]

  3. This is great, Ipek! “Who else would I be full of?” Children are so wise, too bad we shut them down so often–they could help US mature. In Spanish, the word for selfish is “egoista.” Definitely not a good word. Yet love and attention are energies that all of us have and need. Even if I haven’t loved myself yet as much as is good for me, just generating the feeling of love for someone or something allows me to feel it, too, as it washes through my mind and body.

    • Ipek Williamson says:

      Thank you so much, dear Susanne, for this beautiful comment. Indeed such an innocent, yet wise question she asks. And self-love brings the possibility of becoming selfful. I would like to gently invite you to cultivate more love for yourself going forward. Starting with the love and light that I am sending you in this moment.


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transformation life Coach for women, Speaker, Author, MEDITATION TEACHER

Hi! I'm Ipek Williamson

I’m a certified Transformation Coach who specializes in helping mid-life women navigate through challenging transitions. I believe that women shouldn't have to go through life second guessing themselves.

My transformational coaching will make it possible for you to -

  • feel confidently calm enough to live a joyful life
  • use supportive tools to handle unexpected twists and turns
  • heal from pain in relationships and welcome new relationships 
  • be at peace when situations don’t turn out as planned 
  • go from saying “Is this really it?,” to “I can’t wait to see how good life can get.”
  • embrace change with LOVE, instead of fear