Each and every act of kindness, is, to some degree, selfish. All acts from people across the world, come from a place of selfishness, but this isn’t a bad thing.
On a whole, the word selfish is used to insult others, to push them to question their actions or to simply dent their ego. We use it to put others down, perhaps making ourselves feel better about our choices. For some reason, some how, the term ‘selfish’ has grown to only be used in a negative form, but the reality of it is is that we are all selfish, and thats ok.
To help others you must help yourself first. How can you expect to help others around you when you haven’t helped yourself yet? Often those who are more selfless in the current moment are the ones who have truly listened to themselves, have been selfish. They have taken the time to understand themselves, nurturing that, going on to know that others need nurturing too. If we were to give all of our time to others, we wouldn’t make much sense as individuals, so its ok to take some ‘me’ time.
For me I have found it quite hard listening to what I really need, because it was so different to everyone else that I grew up around. I didn’t want to live in the same way everyone else did, I didn’t see money as holding any importance and I didn’t want to lose my life to a career path, living and dying in the same place. It might seem selfish of me to up and move to a different country, away from family and friends, and then to sometimes not want to see anyone at all and to focus on my interests; but if I weren’t to truly listen to myself, I would be unhealthy, lost, depressed and angry; ultimately a nightmare to be around.
As individuals we all need to take responsibility for our own happiness, as much as possible. Understandably this will be more difficult for some than others, but we were born into this world alone, so don’t let external distractions build up who you are. For those who this might not come so easily to, this is when we can reach out, and help each other.
Helping someone comes from you, which comes from a desire of you wanting to help, if you didn’t want to help, you simply wouldn’t. Therapists don’t do their job because they don’t find it interesting, or because they don’t want to help, firemen don’t help those in sticky situations because they’ve never been interested in helping or they don’t want to, teachers don’t continue to teach because they don’t want to and there is no selfish interest behind the subject they chose. There is always a selfish element behind every ‘selfless’ act, because you choose to do it, but this shouldn’t affect its power. Think about a time when you have helped someone, perhaps a stranger or a friend, seeing the effects of your help put a smile on your face right? And that’s lovely, being selfish, listening to yourself and helping others is great.
We all need to take a little bit more time for ourselves, starting with our basic needs of living, going on to listen to what it is that we want from right now. Don’t be afraid to put your needs first and always know that helping others comes naturally with your selfish interests too, so lets all come together and be selfish.