This topic always kind of makes me laugh a bit. The reason I find it funny is because when you boil it down, what other possible perspective can any of us have other than from the self? We have all lived what we’ve lived, experienced different things in our time on earth and that colors how we view pretty much everything.
You can really only see the world from your own perspective. This is often criticized as being “selfish” and that word has some harsh connotations connected to it.
Of course, we all WANT to be kind, loving, and compassionate to others – this is considered to be Unselfish. The hitch in this plan is that if we are not kind, loving and compassionate towards ourselves, there is almost no chance that you can emit that to others in a meaningful way.
I recently heard Esther Hicks state this idea of selfishness in a way that you may want to consider… “Usually what people mean when they tell you that you are being "selfish" is that they don’t like what you are doing or saying because it’s not what THEY want you to do. They would prefer that you make THEM the focus of your attention, actions and decisions. In essence, they want you to stop being self-focused and focus on THEM instead. Nothing selfish about that mindset now is there. Hmmmm...
If you find yourself being actively upset about someone being what you deem “selfish”, I suggest that you stop in your tracks and get honest. Anything that causes judgement in us is a beautiful clue because it means on some level, the behavior or action has meaning to you. The things that upset us about others – remind us of something in ourselves that we don’t like very much, or it triggers a fear or insecurity we have but may not realize.
I love this example from Jen Sincero’s book, You Are A Badass… "Would you be offended if someone kept making fun of how short you were if you were six feet tall? It most likely wouldn’t even register, or if it did, you’d just think they were strange. But if they teased you about being selfish and deep down you feared you were, it would definitely get your attention." The traits we try to deny in ourselves or fear we possess are the traits we will judge harshly in others.
Here’s a news flash for ya… we all have ALL the traits and parts of our personalities that everyone else on the planet has. It’s not that only other people are selfish and you’re not. You have that same stuff in you too and if you own it, accept it, and forgive yourself for it – you will probably stop noticing it in other people. What we notice in others is what is typically unhealed in ourselves on some level when it's negative. The good news is that what we notice in others that we appreciate - is also in us, just not yet fully developed.
I love you no matter what that means for me.
Selfishness is based in fear. My feeling is that there are really only two emotions: love and fear. If someone comes at you with love – our obvious response is love. If someone comes at you with fear – the only true response is love. Love is always the answer. Fear shows up in blame, insecurity, judgement, anger, and selfishness to name a few. You can't win over fear with fear... love is the only thing that can squash fear.
When we love someone, we want the absolute best for them. We want them to feel whole, live their truth, be happy, all the goodies! If we are TRULY loving and UNselfish, I believe that we want these things for them no matter what that means for us. It may mean they want to go off and join the circus and not be with us. It may mean they want to change religions, or careers, or patterns we’re used to. To be selfish would be to want them to remain the same for US. To make US comfortable by not making changes. You see, often what we deem selfish in another, is really just our own selfishness. We don’t want someone to be other than what we need them to be for US.
Don’t misconstrue what I’m saying here to mean you should become an enabler. That’s a whole different animal. Boundaries are still part of compassion and love. I’m simply saying that wanting those whom you love to be happy and fulfilled no matter what it means for you is the ultimate expression of love when it comes from a place of our OWN self-acceptance. If we enable out of fear there will usually be a sense that we are owed something for our sacrifice. To want another person’s happiness out of love and our own self-acceptance carries no after-taste of being a martyr.
There are certainly those who believe loving ourselves is selfish. For me, if we can't love ourselves and we spend every minute of every day with ourselves - I'm not sure how the hell we could ever truly love someone else. Loving ourselves just means that we let other people off the hook for our happiness. What an awesome gift to give! We make ourselves responsible for our own happiness - not based on conditions or the decisions, behaviors, words of others. When we don't love ourselves, we expect others to MAKE us happy. This, for me, is the ultimate selfish act. To ask another to make YOUR happiness their priority when you won't do it for yourself.. just sayin'... pretty unfair.
So my challenge to you is to see if you can take the above quote from Dr. Wayne Dyer literally… Can you truly want the happiness of those you love no matter what it means to you? Even this is slightly selfish!!! Because when you want the best for those you love it also tends to bring us great joy to do this! So call me selfish. This is what love really is, to want others to be whole and happy - no matter what it means for ourselves.
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Sandy Edie Hansen
I use this space to "Chat" about things I am working through and learning in my life currently. Join me!