Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Selfish - A Question

It's a while since anyone used the contact form on this blog, and the question below was contained in an email that had disappeared into my junk mail. Glad I found it though - thanks for the message. I hope the enquirer doesn't mind it being shared.

It's a good question, which I guess I'm now throwing open to the floor.

'I always wonder why being selfish is socially rejected. Though I see nothing wrong with it, social fabrics compel us sometimes. What are your views?'

It asks something I've not completely resolved in my own head yet. I know I need to learn to be more selfish, and I'm getting there but it doesn't sit very comfortably with me.

I'm a perpetual big sister, often worrying about what other folk want, at my own expense. Although far less now.

The problem is with not being selfish is that no one ever gets the best of you, and you don't get the best of you. The analogy which helps me explain what I mean is that of the oxygen mask. The stewards on a plane always warn you that, should an emergency happen, that you must put your own mask on first before attempting to help others.

If you don't put your own oxygen mask on first, you won't survive. Nor will those that need your help with their own masks.

So, being selfish can be a giving thing to do. Partners, family, friends and colleagues get the best of you and not the watered down, exhausted or over emotional version. Being selfish means putting your own needs and feelings out there even if they contradict those of others. It's the only way you'll ever get close to understanding and being understood. Honest, if scary, communication.

However, there's a line for me. I can't be selfish if I know it's going to damage someone else – and, I think that's where the 'social fabric' element comes into to play.

I'm not there yet, but I am learning to be selfish after all, and not feeling guilty about it!

What do you reckon?


  1. Thanks John, mcuh appreciated. Thanks also for stopping by.