Creative Child

Why I'm Teaching My Daughter to be Selfish

by Michelle Dempsey M.S., CPRW

I’m a giver. A lover. A nurturer. But somewhere in my 32 years of constantly giving at any cost, I became a people-pleaser. A really devoted “yes” person, at, literally any cost. And I had to end it.

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It’s not that I don’t love being known as a kind, generous person. That’s a great reputation to have. But when your love of pleasing others trumps your love of pleasing yourself, that’s where things get hairy.

Almost two years ago, I gave birth to a daughter. Not long into her toddlerhood did I realize just how different she was than me as a young girl. Her character strong, her personality commanding, and her independence something of awe. I was more of the unsure, needy type. Boy, am I glad she is not that.

One thing has become clear to me: this girl of mine will be much stronger than I ever was. This girl of mine will learn to stand on her own two feet much earlier that I ever could. And wouldn’t it be great if this girl had bit of healthy selfishness running through her teeny veins, a quality I was never quite able to master.

I don’t want my daughter to be mean-spirited or anything other than the loving, happy person she is now. I would expect that just like me, she’ll be generous and doting.

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But if there’s one thing I won’t allow her to be, it’s a chronic people-pleaser.

Sharing is important, but a little selfishness in our children is a good thing. I have one reason and one reason only why I will always empower the decisions my daughter makes for herself, even if they don’t go along with what makes others happy:

I want my daughter to proudly say ‘no’ when she feels the need to, without an apology attached.

If this makes her selfish, then I’ll be proud I raised someone who learned to stand up for her own needs.

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve said yes when I felt no. How many times I went against my own wishes in order to keep those around me happy. But now, in the interest of spreading a little selfishness around, I am using my daughter as an example, and I am learning to say no when it serves me. 

And we’ll both be better off for this.

A writer, entrepreneur, radio host, and powerful motivational speaker – Michelle Dempsey, owner and founder of Michelle Dempsey, Very Well-Written, has one goal in mind: empowering women from all walks of life with her incredible personal life story of overcoming adversity and using the lessons learned to achieve success. Internationally published and known for her ability to connect with readers on a deeper level, Michelle has successfully united her passion for business and writing and developed a thriving career, offering writing and editing services, business coaching, branding expertise, and content marketing to business of all kinds.

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