Being Selfish

I always thought of being selfish as a negative term, but lately my close friends and family have been telling me I need to start being selfish and thinking about myself. I am the type of person who has a problem saying no to friends/family when they need favors for instance. So instead of me saying no because I would rather spend that time reading a book or watching I movie, I agree. I think the main reason I do this is because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings but at the end of the day I am the one with little time on my hands to do the things I actually want to do. I'm not sure if anyone struggles with this, but if you do I'd love some advice. Thanks!
I struggle with the same problem! I think you just need to keep in mind that people are more resilient than you think. They will still love you even if you turn down requests every now and then and think for yourself. If people don't, then they weren't worth it in the first place.
I don't remember who it was that said it but I've kept the saying in the back of mind for years.

"You never have true control over your life until you learn to say no."

It sounds simple but it's not. It is really hard to forge your own path and say no to things you don't want to do. I've never mastered it but I have learned many ways to say no that are nicer than an outright rejection. You have to be somewhat selfish or else you'll always be living a life that is dictated to you by others.
I don't think it is selfish at all to take time for yourself. In fact, if friends or family members get upset because you decline to help them, I say they are the ones being selfish. If they care about you, then they will understand. It took me a while to realize that and even longer to actually believe it. Once I did, though, my stress and anxiety went down. You know what else? My friends and family understood.
I am this way as well! We just have to remember that helping ourself first will make us a stronger and more able to help them, in turn making it beneficial for them.
Totally understand, I used to be this way too (and still find myself slipping into it every now and then). Being able to say no makes you feel so much more empowered and in control of your life, and ultimately you feel a lot happier in general. Saying "no" doesn't mean you have to be rude or nasty, you just need to be firm but polite. Anyone worth having in your life will understand.
Thank you everyone for your replies. Really makes me put things into perspective and realize I am not the only one who struggles with this.
The same is true for me! I learned that I actually have a lot more of myself to offer if I don't agree to everything. Usually the things I shouldn't agree to are the ones that make me feel really stressed out when I'm trying to decide whether to agree. If I've already planned something for the day for myself, especially time with my family, that is typically an indication that I need to opt out of whatever it is. Sometimes it comes with some light-hearted ribbing, but for the most part people understand the need to have time for yourself!
I think we tend to view selfishness and selflessness in black and white. Being selfish means acting with your own interests at heart, but putting yourself first doesn't mean it's at the detriment of others, or at least it shouldn't. Conversely, being selfless is a fine quality, it's synonymous with being generous, but it also means being devoid of self, perhaps because you are more cognizant of others wants and needs than you are of your own.

It's all about balance. Take it from someone who is precisely the same. Start from the basis that you ARE selfless, and that you would never purposefully take away from someone else. Only, your time, energy and health is your own, so give yourself mini exercizes in being "selfish!"

Now, it's possible you'll receive blow back. People who are used to you being available 100% will feel even minimal drawback on your part. Just have faith! In the long run, you are there for them when they really need you, but you are taking measures so that you can live to the fullest!

Good luck!