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‘Selfish’ is a word which can be interpreted in two opposite ways, Entitlement—the attitude that people owe you something more, and not being thankful for what you already have (used as a pejorative) e.g. “You are just selfish and uncaring

OR Self-caring – positive  compassion and love for yourself which is an essential prerequisite to being able to give love.

The dictionary defines selfish as ‘Lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure. Devoted to or caring only for oneself.’

Self-ish has two parts in the word, and the ‘ish’ suffix means ‘holding some of the characteristics of’
Using this understanding selfish always defines ourselves, for I am 100% self-ish as I hold all the characteristics of myself
The word can and often is used as a weapon to control, by inferring that the self is responsible for another, or typically a group of others, like partner, family, club, nation.

The primary differentiation is in the intent of use.

If the intent behind use of the word ‘selfish’ is placing personal health above other external demands, that is a virtue.

However, where the word is used to define an egoic superiority, or ones not contributing fairly to society because of a sense of entitlement, such an attitude is diminishing to both one’s spirit and to those with whom you interact.

“In all its manifestations, a preoccupation with the self (entitlement) can cause us to forget our benefits and our benefactors or to feel that we are owed things from others and therefore have no reason to feel thankful. Counting blessings will be ineffective because grievances will always outnumber gifts.
The antidote to entitlement,  is to see that we did not create ourselves—we were created, if not by evolution, then by God; or if not by God, then by our parents. Likewise, we are never truly self-sufficient.”
Robert Emmons, co-director of the GGSC’s Gratitude project.
Simple ‘selfish test’ for good or for bad:
Is my higher self proud of my selfish intent?
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