Self-Centered vs Selfish


Hi, everybody. I’m Mike Staver. This is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where I answer questions from people just like you. Here’s this week’s question.

“What’s the difference in being self-centered and selfish?


Well, I probably should have looked it up, but I didn’t see this question until just now. I probably should have looked it up. Let me tell you what I think the difference is. I think being self-centered is not such a bad thing, really, and here’s what I mean.

If you are centered, if you yourself are centered, in other words, you’re grounded and you’re focused and you understand your values and you understand your boundaries and you understand what is going to create a fulfilling life for you, then you are free not to be selfish. Selfish is making it all about you. Selfish is clawing back the last piece of chicken when somebody else at the table didn’t get the piece of chicken. Selfish is when you make the whole world about, but if I am centered in myself, if I am grounded, if I have good boundaries, if I am spiritually healthy, then I am free to be selfless because I don’t have to constantly be sucking the oxygen out of the environment.

The moral oxygen, the values oxygen, the financial oxygen, the spiritual oxygen, the emotional, I don’t have to suck it out because what’s happening with me in the center of me is grounded and solid and focused, and it is approaching the things that need to be approached so that I can have the life that I want.

When I see people who are selfish it’s generally because there’s a hollow or there’s a lack of self-centeredness. I am not centered in myself. I do not feel whole on the inside, so I have to keep dragging things in to fill what– I forget the author’s name, used to say, all of us are trying to fill a hole in our soul. I think that’s the difference. I think that being self-centered in terms of being not centered on myself but being centered as a self is really healthy because I think it frees me then not to be selfish.

I hope that’s helpful.

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