Selfishness: Not a Bad Thing
What is selfishness? There is a strong negative vibe attached to the word and we have come to hate it. The basic meaning of
the word is misunderstood and I am sure you must be wondering why am I supporting the concept of selfishness. Try repeating it out-loud ” I AM A SELFISH PERSON“. A feeling of sorrow would fill you, that something is wrong here. I am not suppose to say something like this, I am a bad person !!
Lets understand what the word means according to the dictionary,
Selfishness is being concerned, sometimes excessively or exclusively,for oneself or one’s own advantage, pleasure, or welfare, regardless of others.
This is a very wrong understanding of the word. The education system and religion have successfully inculcated in us the concept that we must become “un-selfish” in order to attain freedom/god/heaven/peace. You may put whatever words you fancy, at the end of that sentence. How many times have you been asked to love yourself? You are always told to ” Love thy neighbor”, or love your kids, wife, car, be it anything. Most people are acting on their teachings gained from religion, that being unselfish would lead you to some rewards. Even though it is true that one must think about others, but not with an intention of any gains. That part is easily missed out.
If there were no religious shackles attached to this concept, Human Beings would have no reason to understand or follow the concept of selflessness. In reality selfishness has a different meaning. It is a feeling of LOVING oneself deeply. Everything
thing which you might do, every action that arises from you, starts from a feeling inside you. The action and its results are just the end product. When you decide to do something, your feelings attached to that action are the ones that make you do it.
For example, you going to meet a loved one, that’s a feeling of love. You cheating on an exam, that’s the feeling of fear (of failure). I hope you got the idea.
If all your actions arise out of selfless love than they would have positive influence in the world. Then you would be able to contribute in a real sense. When you become selfish in a spiritual sense, you will grow. You have to understand that one must love and understand oneself before you can go ahead and spread happiness around you. You must have read it many times that ” For someone else to love you, you must love yourself first“. What exactly does that mean? It means that if we start becoming selfish and do the things that make us happy, that would create an environment which leads to the spreading of happiness to others. As It should be known that love is the most selfish thing ever. When you try to understand what that means, you will notice that it is true.
You cannot possibly love anyone else if you do not love yourself
You can pretend Yes but you cannot actually love. If you are doing charity work and you have no intention of doing it then do you think it has any value? I am talking about its value to YOU. You would say that you charity is helping others, but that’s just the materialistic help, I am asking would it help YOU? It won’t. You see if you have the feeling to help others, then you would go ahead and do anything in your power to help out. That act of yours would help them in many ways, just like it did in the earlier case. But here we have a difference, this act now make YOU FEEL HAPPY as well. You actually FEEL good, don’t you?
Related: Listen to yourself
For example; You go out and willingly serve food to the homeless, or support the education of an individual whom you don’t even know, WILLINGLY. I am talking about that feeling. Here you are being SELFISH. This is the selfishness I am talking about. You are doing it for your own happiness. When people start doing things that make them happy, then they are full of love. This love
and happiness reaches such a level that it cannot be contained anymore and then it will start overflowing to others around that person.
This is what being selfish is all about. It is about being self-centered. Looking for your own happiness at every stage of your life, then it can be;
1. Support the medical expenses of a homeless individual.
2. Donating to charity.
3. Feeding the needy.
The list is endless.
Now the question arises, If I love myself, does that make me a egoist or a narcissist? This is the general counter argument which is given in support of selflessness. It is a tricky point where everyone seems to agree that selfishness is bad. If you love yourself, you will realize that your ego starts dissipating.
This is very important for further growth. Have you noticed that you feel different in the presence of a kind person as opposed to one who is abrupt or rude? Why do you feel so different? What has changed? Their natures are vary different and when you interact with them, you will feel that personality within you. Your inner self reacts
to those feelings, that a kind salesman is able to sell you a product as opposed to one who is down right rude or short-tempered.
You are not a narcissist for feeling happy, you have a right to be happy just like everyone else !! Do not feel bad or guilty because you are doing the thing which brings you joy. Of course, it is vital that your idea of joy should not bring sorrow or pain to others. Your joy, you happiness would cross your boundaries in due course and would spread to others. This is what being selfish means.
Unless you have a peace, a silence in your heart, a song in your being, a light radiating your enlightenment, you cannot do any service to anybody.