There are mixed reviews about selfishness. Some of us extol its virtues. Some of us condemn it as a cardinal sin. Some of us feel a little conflicted about it.
To be selfish may be construed as putting yourself first in some way. From a physical logic, this makes complete sense. As your eyes, ears, brain perceives your world, you filter it in your own unique way. This compels you to act in your own individuality and to protect what you’ve learnt is important. Your ego and spirit dwell from this solitary viewpoint, no-one can totally share it with you. In this respect then, how can you do other than nurture your own beliefs, perceptions and progress? It’s almost impossible to find the equation that allows you to be other than selfish on a most fundamental level.
To others, we are a pack animal. Whilst we may have individual interpretations, we are designed to live in company. Any long term isolation is viewed with dread. Therefore part of our programming is to consider yourself as a part of a greater sum, a cog in a greater machine. When someone questions what the individual can do to shift a trend, their answer is always what is a trend but an outcome of an accumulation of individual actions in the same direction. We feed into trends, phenomena, and fads without really ever considering it. To be selfish from this standpoint then, is to be self-ish, to only be part of your make-up, to be incomplete and missing pieces of the bigger jigsaw.
To me, it’s another bit of intuitive maths you have to be willing to do. This world is all about balance, from the body, to the mind to the spirit. From the community to the culture to the faith. We contribute to the greater whole but, in doing so, we have a responsibility to tend to ourselves. We are inherently driven to be the best we can be. We can get lost if we don’t feel like we have the tools to better ourselves but the drive is there. We are also driven by pleasing others, motivated by seeing others happy and healthy. To be the best we can be is to bring out the best in us AND in others. To give more emphasis to either side of the equation is to be self-ish. It’s missing the other half. If you meditate your life away in a closed room, you miss the beautiful vibrancy of the community and culture around you and all it teaches. If you bow your every atom into the service of others to the expense of self-love, you never know the depth of the gift you could be offering.
i think it’s the finest balance. There’s an ebb and flow in life that can seem to throw you off course. But the course is worth sticking to. To know what you can contribute is to know who you are in the first place. I wish that the result wasn’t called selfless but selfmore.