When the eras trend started to take over TikTok, I really thought about the type of person I’ve been throughout the years. I’ve always thought that I’ve generally had the same personality, but looking back, I’ve ranged from being a sensitive Lover Girl who wore her heart on her sleeve, only to have her feelings hurt, to a Soft Girl who started to lose her fiery passion. Last year, I unknowingly entered what the Internet quickly deemed a Villain Era, and while it was fun while it lasted (I’ve always thought the villains on TV were more entertaining than the heroes), I eventually realized that I didn’t want to come across that way – instead, I wanted to be selfish with my time and energy.
Being the villain isn’t always a bad thing, it’s just a change in your priorities and mentality. For chronic people-pleasers (like me), the idea of not having to constantly be so painstakingly nice was intriguing. Kindness is always the best route, of course, but it can get exhausting always thinking you have to put others above yourself and choosing people who don’t choose you back. Not having the ability to set boundaries or say no can lead to others getting comfortable with how they treat you and always expecting you at your nicest, no matter what you’re going through. One bad thing after another made me start to feel like the world was against me and before I knew it, the Villain Era had commenced…until it was replaced with something new.
@slicedotca psa putting yourself first isnt selfish!! 💖 #villainera #selfishera #grwm ♬ Vlog – Soft boy
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We’re a couple months into 2023 and I can confidently say I haven’t had a single bad day this year, and for someone who would typically let themselves become miserable over the slightest inconvenience, that’s saying a lot. Why? Because the person I’m most concerned about now, is me. My Selfish Girl Era has put me in the mindset of protecting my own energy and peace of mind. We’ve grown up with the idea that being selfish is a bad thing, but we never talk about the varying degrees of what’s considered selfish. Selfishness doesn’t necessarily mean I stop caring about anyone else, and start hurting the people around me. It just means that I’m prioritizing myself before anyone else without feeling guilty about it. To quote Lori Harvey: “This time, it’s about me. Self-love, self-care, self-reflection. I’m being a little selfish right now. It’s my time.”
If you’re thinking it’s about time you entered your Selfish Girl Era, here are some of my first-hand tips and personal thoughts on how to get started.
Put yourself on a pedestal
We often hold those around us to a high standard, when sometimes, they don’t deserve it — our crushes, our closest friends, family — often overlooking their flaws and loving them blindly even when they hurt us. So why do we shy away from that high standard for ourselves? If we can think so highly of others, we’re capable of thinking the same of ourselves too. Which leads to my next point…
Love and care for yourself the way you do for others
It’s easier said than done, I understand. A lot of the type of people who are finding themselves in this phase of their lives are recovering people pleasers. We give out so much love that sometimes, we’re too exhausted to save any for ourselves. We go out of our way to help others, putting in a high level of care and compassion, so why are we so hesitant to do the same for ourselves? Think about it this way: if you would grab a tub of ice cream and drive an hour to go comfort a friend who just went through a bad breakup, you can spend an hour of your day doing something that’s going to make you feel like you’ve had an amazing week.
Do things that make you excited, instead of wallow in misery
Before entering the Selfish Girl era, when I’d find myself in a bad mood, I would do things that I thought of as comforting, but actually made me feel even sadder and more isolated, like lying in bed doing nothing but listening to sad music. I used to think this was somehow cathartic, telling myself I was feeling my emotions instead of doing something to better them. I became used to the feeling of being slightly sad all the time and in a strange sense, I liked it that way. Looking back, I cannot believe I was so comfortable with misery! I haven’t actively listened to sad music in a couple of months, and it feels great. Instead of crying and yelling the lyrics to a sad song on my hour-long commute, I’ve been listening to things with feel-good lyrics that make me want to dance. This change of tune has not only made the drive go faster, but puts me in a better mood for the whole day. I can’t explain why it’s made such a big difference, but it has — and if there’s any reason to start, think about the strangely empowering effect that Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” had on us all.
Choose to brush it off instead of thinking about it all day
When particular things happen, it’s up to you to either let them ruin you or choose to brush them off. I’ve realized, out of the several good things that happen to me in a day, letting one or two bad things discount the others isn’t fair. I can’t always blame other people or situations for hurting me if I’m the one allowing them to have such a strong influence on my life. There are certain things that don’t deserve my time and energy, and I used to do myself a disservice by trying to be someone for everyone else. The more you think about a small, negative situation, the more you get lost in your head, letting it impact your mood.
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Be selfish with your time, but know when it’s right to make time, too
Don’t spread yourself too thin trying to make yourself available to everyone, and vice versa, don’t automatically say no to every opportunity because you don’t want to go out, or socialize, or whatever the reason might be. I’ve fallen victim to both ends of this scale where I’ve said yes to every single event thinking it was good for me to get outside, only to be mentally exhausted and socially drained; and I’ve said no to every invite because staying in my room was easy. A happy medium does exist! Say yes when you know it’ll strengthen your relationships, or if you feel you’ll end up running into someone who makes a great connection, or maybe just that you’ll have more fun than you expected and leave with a nice memory. Say no when you know the atmosphere isn’t right for you and you’ll feel uncomfortable. Weigh the outcomes rather than making an immediate decision based on your mood in the moment, because you never know what one opportunity could lead to. At the end of the day, don’t feel like you must rely on the joy other people are going to bring you, because whether you’re home or out, your own company and how you choose to spend your own time is the most important thing.
Stay in tune with your thoughts and feelings
Trust your intuition. I can’t stress enough how things will likely not work out unless you truly believe they will (kind of the whole idea of Lucky Girl Syndrome, or the law of assumption). I recently saw a TikTok from @samweisbrod_ where he said, “everything you want, you want because a future version of yourself literally already has it.” Whether you’re focusing on your career, a relationship, or your wellbeing, don’t let others deter you from what you feel in your gut. If you’re confident, you’ll get your dream job, the only person standing in your way is you. I fully acknowledging the privilege I have as someone with a good job and support system, so again, please take my advice with a grain of salt. And if you’re not fully into it, then you have your answer: it’s nothing that’s really meant for you. Losing an opportunity or a relationship might hit you hard and feel like the end of the world in the moment, but nine out 10 times, it’s not working out because there’s something better for you. If it doesn’t feel right, allow yourself to let it go. Ugh, I know, I sound like your mom, but I say all this with good intentions and first-hand epiphanies.
I don’t have all the answers yet on how to be in your Selfish Girl Era, because the truth is, I’m still figuring it out, too. It’s not a trend that you can get a step-by-step guide on how to accomplish and it’s not a uniform feeling. Being a “good selfish” will look different for everyone, and it’s up to you to figure out the nitty gritty details on what’ll make you reach the point where you can confidently say, “ah, yes – this is my selfish era, and I like it.” For me, once I started to really live for myself and get protective over my peace and energy, I went from thinking the world was out to get me, to realizing I wouldn’t want my life any other way right now.