Egoism is inherent to the human being and cannot be classified as intrinsically bad or undesirable, since by itself it has a biological and social meaning. In addition, in many cases it can also inspire agreements that have repercussions in favor of the community or the other.
There are three types of egoism and each of them expresses different values . Human beings are basically selfish and this is not bad because in principle this is a fundamental mechanism of self-affirmation and self-preservation absolutely necessary to survive. In fact, there are very positive forms of selfishness.
Human beings come into the world equipped to think of themselves before anyone else . This is because that behavior is part of a survival mechanism . Sociability too and that is why there are types of selfishness and cooperation that manage to combine both aspects in a harmonious way.
Man needs to find some form of gain in everything he does, including the most generous acts . This is not good or bad in itself, but just natural. Trying to eliminate this tendency, as well as taking it to the extreme, are inconvenient behaviors. We will look at the different types of egoism in a moment to better understand why we say this.
"The only acceptable egotism is to ensure that everyone is well to be one better." -Jacinto Benavente-
1. Egocentric selfishness
Egocentric egoism is one that leads to develop behaviors fundamentally oriented to satisfy personal needs and desires . In this mode, only individual well-being predominates, while there is very little interest in the expectations, desires or needs of others.
Others only get some attention if, in one way or another, it generates some personal benefit . It does not mean that a person is "heartless", but it is very difficult to expect understanding or solidarity from someone like that. It is not "evil" that inhabits it, but shortcomings, fears and frustrations of which many times they are not aware.
The predominant note in those who have this type of selfishness is victimization and reactivity . They will tend to blame everyone else for what happens to them and will react destructively to the observations or demands of others. Another of their distinctive features is that they always label others as selfish.
2. Conscious selfishness
The conscious is one of the types of healthy egoism and is born from the conviction that each one is responsible for what happens to him and, therefore, has the opportunity to be the protagonist of his own reality. To this extent, he neither expects others to take care of what is solely his own responsibility nor does he take care of what others are trained to do.
In this case, a person does not feel uncomfortable if he puts his own needs before those of others . She is willing to show solidarity with others, as long as this does not harm her own interests. Likewise, the help they provide is timely and well defined.
This type of selfishness is typical of those who have strong self-esteem and know themselves well . They may be a bit cold in the eyes of others, but their attitude is healthy, as it promotes autonomy and independence in relationships with others.
3. Altruistic, another type of healthy selfishness
The altruist is another type of healthy selfishness. It seems somewhat contradictory to speak of selfishness and altruism in the same sentence, but it is not. It is a more evolved form of conscious selfishness and corresponds to those who have achieved a healthy balance between respect for their own and consideration for others .
In this form of selfishness there is great satisfaction in giving to others . This is not the satisfaction that comes from pleasing a very demanding conscience, but a natural and spontaneous attitude that flows by itself and generates joy in those who practice it. This attitude is, so to speak, "universal", that is, to any other human being.
These types of people have understood that if they do good to themselves, they find greater well-being. However, by doing good to others as well, that well-being is multiplied and acquires the plus that it not only implies growing individually, but growing with others. The most characteristic of this egoism is the naturalness with which it unfolds.
Sometimes there are manifestations of all three types of selfishness in a person . That one of them predominates does not mean that in certain circumstances the other two are not present. What is certain is that those who reach the altruistic facet tend to have greater stability and inner peace.