Everyone likes to think they are selfless. My mom tries her best each day to love and help her kids and my dad thinks he helped “Amigo” (the Guatemalan yard worker he used to hire for day jobs every now and then and only learned his name, Fernando, after about the 10th time. I’m sure Fernando found that to be very offensive) by giving him work. The teacher who goes into a lifelong teaching career decides her life purpose is to help kids and teens grow up. I like to think I’m selfless too because I give to charity and try to be kind each day. However, I’ve been thinking these days that I am not actually selfless, but that I am a very selfish person. When I give, I expect to receive in some way. If I give to charity I feel a sense a pride and accomplishment. I feel like saying “Hello, look how wonderful I am, I just gave to this charity and that makes me a better person.” When I am kind, I expect people to be kind back. Oh, how many times have I been flustered when I realize that people are much more giving than I am! Or how confused I am when I smile at someone and they scowl back! Now I know. Admittedly, I am a selfish person. The acts I do that I call “good” are to provide and encourage my feelings of being a good person.
But is it ok to be selfish? Is it ok to feel a rush of importance when doing an act that is lovely, regardless of intention? Or is intention the most important factor of all?
I think that it is ok to be selfish if the intent behind it is NOT ONLY to draw glorious attention to oneself. So, in my opinion, it is ok to give to charity and reap the benefits of feeling proud when part of one’s intent is also to provide aid, or fulfill the original purpose.
And, I think same goes for most other things. Except this blog. Disclaimer: this is a purely selfish blog, written by me to justify, lament, encourage or critique myself and any others or any places I find noteworthy in the world.
I actually also think it is important to be selfish in order to be selfless because one cannot understand how to give without giving too much or giving too little without some introspection into who and what one is. Therefore, something else I want to try to reflect on is who I am and What I am able to do VS. What I cannot do.