We are in nature selfish.
I wrote an article before on egocentric and selfishness. But as you can see I found it necessary to elaborate on this subject.
One of the first things we learn as we grow up from toddler to adolescence to adult is that we shouldn’t be selfish. We should think of others first before we may think of ourselves. We all know the sweet selfishness of the young toddlers when they take whatever they want, don’t want to share and make a whole commotion when another child is taking away their toy. And then we, the adults, do our utmost best to convince this little child, which has no clue what so ever on what you’re talking about, that it is not nice if you are not sharing. Of course we believe we do this with the best intentions and with the convincement that we are making a better person out of this child. It’s for his/her own good and benefit.
While for some part this is true, the intention can be sincere, most often the true motivation for adjusting this behaviour comes from our own childhood where we were being taught that sharing is a must and not liking that someone is taking away your toy is bad. Throughout our lives we are being believed, taught and convinced that selfishness is a bad thing. People are being praised, idolised because of their evidently selflessness while others are virtually being out casted for their supposing acts of selfishness.
And although, again, the intention for this believe might be sincere and coming from a good and healthy idea, the outcome is rather different from an actual lived attribute that is fully understood.
It is true that selfishness can be shaped in any form you want. It is true that you can use selfishness to practice an egocentric lifestyle. But what about self-love? Is self-love evenly to selfishness? I would like to say no but can imagine there is some clarification needed.
When you do a quick research about the meaning of selfishness, egocentric, self-centred or even narcissism, you will soon find that all these terms are described as a characteristic that most people would like to avoid or at least not to be judged on.
The consequences of this division, this need of classification of characteristic attributes, is that pretty everything is quickly thrown on this stack of interpretations.
From this stack I would like to take this one cart; self-love.
True love comes from loving yourself first.
Does this sound familiar? It’s a phrase you hear often these days. On social media for sure you’ll find that one of your friends has posted a beautiful photo with a similar text in it. Loving your self is a must these days. Gosh, there is a predicament. Love yourself but at the same time you need to avoid being selfish.
honestly, I don’t care much about all the designations. I do care, though, that you might feel obliged to hold back on loving yourself just for the sake of not being labelled selfish.
Self-love is a virtue. A self-given quality! Isn’t that a beautiful phrase? Self-given quality.
It already makes me happy by saying it.
But what does self-love mean? For sure it doesn’t mean that you put your own interest above others. Although sometimes you need to do so. And here we have to go back to the previously mentioned designations.
It is in no way possible to distinguish human behaviour in any sort of classifications. When you choose to live on this planet, you did so with the consciousness of freedom. Free in making choices, free in interpretation and free in how and what things mean to you. Classification, uniformity or designations are tools to make things understandable. They are not, by all means, laws to live by. All the words in the category selfish, egocentric, etc. have a general given explanation. Not to give you an ultimate law of how it is but to generally explain what is meant with using these words. It is so important to discover your own conclusion, your own meaning to certain given qualities. Such as self-love. You have an enormous valuable, rich and elaborate dictionary to your disposal, called ‘your heart’. If from anything you want to know whether feel true about it, whether it is something honest to you or a given truth, ask your heart. Feel what your heart tells you, for trust me it will not come to you in beautiful intelligent phrases that you can understand using your brain. It is that soft tone of heart, that utterly pure but oh so serene sensation that you get when being on the right path. That feeling of joy that you only experience when you speak your truth.
These are all forms of expressing self-love. It can include as many different ways of expressing as there are people. There is no one way. There is only your way!
Self-love can mean that you give yourself the liberty to make mistakes. To fender through life never really knowing who you are or what you want from life. It can include that you willingly and consciously choose to live alone. That you deliberately decide to think of yourself before others just for the sake of learning to love yourself. It honestly is beautiful to explore the love for yourself. Give yourself room, give yourself ability and perhaps for most; give yourself the pleasure of making mistakes. As I mentioned before in previous post, you have nothing to live up to. There is absolutely nothing you have to achieve! Nothing you have to earn or do before you can be what you want to be.
You are already complete!