Self interest may very well be at the root of many the descisions we make - there is a pretty big argument that in order to feel respect for yourself and in turn for others... we have to be self interested and selfish. It sounds like I am saying that you should suddenly start looking after number one and bollocks to the rest... no - this is not what I am saying. Your confidence and strength of character relies upon YOU respecting YOU. If your self worth is weak and you find expressing your individuality and confidence a problem... these emotions will eventually manifest themselves as negative ones. Meaning - you will begin to covertly sway peoples opinon to gain what you need, you may begin to usurp others confidence to boost your own. Eventually you may very well find yourself using devious tricks to mentally and emotionally gainan advantage over others, as doing this openly is regarded as not the 'nice' thing to do. Wakeup please.
To put this simply, ask yourself what would make you happy? Long term and short term - pay particular attention to your answer here. If your actions conflict with these desires, then stop and reflect upon why you are doing the opposite of what you need to do to satisfy your desires and emotions. Emotion and desire are the building blocks of your personality... and no, I don't mean go and commit crimes etc to obtain what you desire as one of your desires should be to remain free and un-incarcerated by the law - isn't it? :-)