Bolade Ogunfuye: “So selfish, so what?” Making the case for living for YOU [NEW VOICES]

by Bolade Ogunfuye

Take a minute to think about it and you’ll come to the same conclusion that I have; every decision we make is either directly or indirectly based on ourselves. Even if I decide to be selfless, I am doing it because I would internally feel better being selfless than selfish.

People dedicate their youths and the best parts of their lives to forge friendships, build relationships, nurture families, strengthen alliances, support friends, and even sacrifice a goodly chunk of their lives to make their kids’ future perfect and their kids do the same thing for their kids.

Let’s looks at the kids’ part for a minute; I have carried some doubt over the theory that parents should sacrifice a huge part of their life to take care of kids and prepare them for success. I have great respect for responsible parenting. The question is how does one go actually go about doing this? I’m not a parent yet, but I’ve seen many failed over-parenting examples growing up. I clearly go for a more efficient, succinct method—to remove unnecessary care and worry about kids. They need to do things themselves and not take time away from their parents.

In this vein, it’s become apparent to me that in the Nigeria of today, people tend to congratulate themselves on their parenting achievements, as if the mere fact that their kids are not exhibiting signs of madness deems them worthy of a trophy. I don’t mean to offend, but I think it’s a little-hyped concept. Of course, I don’t think that they are not great parents, but to celebrate themselves that way seems unnatural or a means to obtain compassion. Being parents is not a job. It is part of life but not all of it. Striving for passions and never wavering in achieving greatness is probably the most valuable asset parents could leave to their kids.

While always wanting to protect and do things for them, though filled with eternal love, isn’t the best way both for kids’ development and parents’ life quality as well. From when I could remember, my mum was particularly involved a lot in my study and my life in general. I strived for independence and naturally rebelled, but I could tell even then that to get them to relinquish power was going to be a lifelong, messy, casualty-strewn war. They have now come to accept, reluctantly, that I am fiercely independent and they will not win that war with me.

Extending that to many other facets of life, the idea is the same: First, Being selfish the good way means that you have the ability to appreciate YOUR life, weigh that part in decision-making and adopt a mentality/practice that benefits all parties. Your goals and other’s goals might be overlapped. Why not find common grounds and balance all the needs?

Secondly, everyone is selfish in some way. To recognise our inner selfishness and where it comes from gives us a better sense of priority and clarity. It helps us make decisions more rationally and measuredly. Without a bit of selfishness, people can feel easily lost and struggle to find something they really care about and place emphasis on. In many cases, it is the selfishness that motivates us and propels us forward. All that said, being a selfish and good person requires rationality to prioritise and set goals, compassion to stand in the shoes of others, maintain good interpersonal relationships, responsibility to live up to promises and a will to get things done.

We only live once and no one is enjoying his/her own life. Okay, it makes our karma good. But what will you do with your karma when you cease to exist?

Bolade is a writer and multi-media development professional. He began as a writer, and has since expanded his repertoire to include media content design and development, brand strategy, new media, advertising and PR with a career spanning the last decade. He is addicted to caffeine, sartorial excellence, sarcasm, true crime and media content of the highest quality; and is very fluent in double-speak.

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