Selfishness is unnecessarily maligned.
I believe that if we genuinely know, believe in and stand up for what we want as individuals, there would be fewer problems in our relationships.
We are taught that being selfish is not desirable because it automatically means we do not look out for others. I have learned that the few of us who do not look out for others or even actively harm others, do so because they grew up being treated the same way. Therefore, they will "snatch" whatever they can, just to feel they are deserving.
Most of us can rest assured that a balance is possible between looking out for ourselves and others and there does not need to be a tug-of-war between the two. Please try being "selfish" in relationships and you will probably notice a shift over the long term. That is, state what you would like and try to act on it as much as possible.
As long as your intention is not to harm others, the guilt of feeling "selfish" will gradually dissipate. There is freedom in being yourself while loving others. Dissolving yourself in what others want you to be, is more harmful than being "selfish".
Sujata V, Ph.D, MFT
Always Learning..through the good AND not-so-good times!