One reason I like discussing selfishness so much is because it makes people question their attitude toward being selfish. I can see them trying to disagree with the idea that there is a beneficial aspect to selfishness. There is no doubt it can be a challenge to rethink such a powerful behavioral pattern. That’s why I enjoy this topic so much.
From an early age we have been taught to share our things with others. This is good. But we have also been taught to throw ourselves under the bus to make others happy. This is not so good.
When we sacrifice our happiness for the benefit of others, we consider this selfless, and we are praised because of our actions. Yet if we take time for a spa retreat we are considered selfish. One sacrifices our well-being, while the other benefits our emotional health, yet one is good, the other is bad. How do we rationalize these differences?
If we look closer, taking time for ourselves is an act of self-love. While ignoring our happiness for the benefit of others is not loving at all. We think our sacrifice is loving, but it may cause anger, bitterness, and resentment within us. If our sacrifice creates these emotions, then at some point those whom we sacrifice for, will feel the negativity our sacrifice produces.
What if instead of sacrificing ourselves, we learned to selfishly love ourselves? Then if we choose to help others, our behavior will be founded on love. When we act out of love, there is no sacrifice, our behavior is authentic.
Yes, great teachers have advocated for selflessness, and it has been preached for thousands of years. This is why this subject can be difficult for people to grasp. The question is, can we selfishly love ourselves enough so we move through life sharing this love without conditions or expectations.
We often see people posting pictures of themselves feeding the disadvantaged during the holiday season. This is an act of kindness to be sure. Although if it was a true act of love, they would be working the soup kitchen at other times of the year. Feeding the less fortunate one day a year, holds within this behavior, an expectation of praise from those who view the posts on social media.
Is the intention to help the needy, or boost self-worth? I have done this very thing, making myself feel better about myself during the Thanksgiving Holiday. I needed validation and a boost in my self-esteem. At the time, there was little self-love in my life, because I wasn’t selfish enough to love myself.
It may be difficult to connect self-love with selfishness. Yet if we do not selfishly love ourselves, no other person can do it for us. Nor can we honestly love another. Why? Because we will be asking others to love us in a way that fills a void within us. A void because we do not love ourselves enough to make our well-being a priority.
I knew a guy who would rather call selfishness, self-care. That’s a nice way to sugarcoat it to avoid using the word selfishness. In truth it means the same thing, although self-care is much more acceptable.
Either way, the root of selfishness and self-care is “self”. Who is going to take care of our “self” if we don’t do it for ourselves? Our well-being is our responsibility, it is our selfish responsibility. If we don’t love ourselves, who will?
At the core of our being is a source of unconditional love. It is our responsibility to ourselves to clear away our limiting beliefs and reconnect with this love. We are the only ones who can do this inner work.
Is doing the inner work to discover the love at our core selfish? Absolutely! But when we begin to live an authentic life, we can share this love freely, without having to throw ourselves under the bus. Then our behavior will be founded on love, not on the belief that we will find love under the rear wheels of the bus.
Can we learn to selfishly love ourselves? Then can we share this love without condition, or expectation?
Let me know what you think, leave a question or comment below, I’m always interested exploring the subject further.
Each week I email an article to those who have subscribed to my weekly. This week I wrote about being curious enough to uncover the root causes of our behavior. Here is an excerpt.
The thing about being curious, is we have to be strong enough to ask the question, then brave enough to accept the answer. It’s easy going through life without seeking the answers to our questions. Yet the lessons from the answers are where we will develop emotional maturity.
If you are interested in reading this article leave a message in the comment section. Or if you would like to subscribe to my weekly, scroll to the very bottom of the page where you will find a place to enter your email address.
A bit of news. My wife and I are in the process of moving from beautiful Colorado to the high grasslands of Southern Arizona. Colorado has been amazing to us, meeting many great people, discovering a part of ourselves we didn’t know existed, along with strengthening our relationship. I am forever grateful for those who helped us call this beautiful mountain valley home.
I will continue to write my weekly, my blog, my column for Conscious Shift Magazine as well as continue working on my next book. I’ll keep you posted, but for now, I’m somewhere between Colorado and Arizona.
In the May issue of Conscious Shift Magazine you will find my article,
“Unexpected Gifts” What unexpected gifts can you give to the world? What if you are that gift?
Click the link to read more.
Check out Conscious Shift Magazine, a great resource for guidance and inspiration.
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Peace and Well-Being, Paul
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