Selfish or Selfless?

Are you selfish or selfless? How often does one hear – I dislike selfishness?  I hear it from people, about people all the time.  Often people say, I hate “****” because he/she is so selfish.  Others, especially mates often say or think that their mate is selfish or does not care about anyone else other than themselves.  Selfishness runs the gambit from the bedroom to the boardroom, from partners in business to partners in life – one or more always feels that they themselves are not getting their fair share and hence they feel the other(s) is selfish.

Then you have the so-called self-less ones.  Many of these think their purpose or fulfillment in life comes from being of service to others.  Of these, you have those that have spent their life in the meditative pursuit of compassion and love for their fellow mankind.  These feel that without compassion and love for others, the human race is at a loss.  Then, I have met some that feel they must be of service to others so that they appease their favourite religious icon of choice.

From my perspective, one must be selfish first!  I am sure that idea will not go over good with many.  A few sayings come to mind that I am sure many have already read or heard.  The first one is that you can’t beat the drum of victimhood by being a victim.  The second is that one can’t feed the hungry when one is hungry.  To be selfish means that one needs to be well first.  In the oilfields, one of the first things that workers are taught is about safety – For example, H2S/Hydrogen Sulfide gas.  This gas is instantly deadly, and you can’t help others who may be overcome from a gas leakage if you are dead yourself.  The first rule is to protect yourself and put on your safety equipment.  An example that one hears all the time during safety announcements if you air travel is; In the event of … put on your oxygen mask first and then assist others.  You are of no value or help to others if you are not well first.  Let’s go back to the “you can’t feed the hungry when you are hungry yourself.”  How would you do that – if you are starving yourself, how to you feed others?  Wait, you can’t.

How does a parent look after a child when they can’t look after themselves? Well, that brings me to another question and that is; why are they having children when they know they can’t look after them? One sees it all the time from  images of third world countries or for that matter, right here in Canada and the US.  What are these people thinking when they are procreating, knowing full well that they can’t support themselves, not alone the child they may bring into the world! From my perspective, those few moments, or for some seconds of pleasure, bring lasting ramifications to those who end up fathering/mothering a child.

I expound selfishness first!  I am selfish for me.  I must be well first.  When I am well, then and only then, can I do for others.  People tell me all the time, oh – it makes me a better person when I help others!  Really?  You don’t like yourself enough to help yourself, but gee, let me help someone else first because then I will feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  And then what?  The warm and fuzzes all die when you are home alone with no apparent friends – how special is that?  So what do you do – you volunteer at the homeless shelter, buy someone a meal because you can and they can’t.  Does that make you feel more superior than them?  Do you need to help them because perhaps you have trampled on others on the way up the ladder that you need to feel good inside?  How many philanthropic people have you seen just giving out the money now because oh… they get to look back at all the crap they have done to others.. so let’s make a foundation and help the poor, let’s help the homeless, let’s help the sick.  All one has to do is to look at face of those who claim to be philanthropic and you can see and feel what their real motives are.  I guess they need to buy their salvation somehow.

So back to selfishness.  You know the 3 little pig story right?  The first little piggie decided to build a house out of straw and what happened?  She/he was a sad little piggie because first, the bank wouldn’t give a mortgage and then the big bad wolf or perhaps the elements of nature huffed and puffed and blew the straw house down.  Then you have the little piggie with the wooden house… the big bad wolf or the elements of nature destroyed that house in an expedient manner.  Ahh – the brick house!  The third little piggie was just rocking in her/his brick house.  It withstood the huffs and puffs of not only the big bad wolf, but also the elements of nature.

So let’s take the elements of nature as an analogy to the elements or circumstances of life.  If you are building a house and it’s pouring rain out, what do you do?  You need to finish your house.  Your neighbour who is also building a house, but also partying a wee too much, asks for your help.  What do you do?  What value is your house going to have when the rain gets in and damages the very foundation that it needs to stand strong?  Your house is first for you, then or as time/materials permit, by all means help the partier out.  YOU are first for you, then when you are well, then you will automatically do for others what needs to be done.  This will be done without ulterior motives, it will be something you just do because it is something you just do.

Imagine a community built of brick houses?  Can you image a group or community of strong, healthy humans that can withstand the elements of life?  They did so because they were strong themselves first.  Self-lessness from my perspective, is an attribute of selfishness.

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