Being selfish isn’t a crime, nor is it a societal black pit as it is made out to be. It is simply a variation of self-care that we all need to participate in from time to time
We have gone against billions of years of evolution to normalise an attitude of individualism, of narcissism, and of greed, and all of the evidence suggests that it is not good for us. So why do we do it exactly? If altruism is in our nature, why are we all so selfish?
A tug at my trouser leg brought me back into the room. I looked down to find an eighteen month old offering me a small fistful of peanut butter and, for the first time since I gave up nutty spreads as a five year old, I accepted it.
I've been called selfish most of my life. A privileged only child, unable to share, I once involuntarily jabbed my friend's hand with my fork when she nicked a french fry from my plate. It was pure instinct (I swear!)
Ultimately, above all else, what do you want from your life? Or, if you have kids, what do you ultimately hope for them? Ask most people these questions and the usual response is 'I want to be happy' or 'I want them to be happy'. Yet do we know what this really means and what it takes for what we focus on in our lives?
Life has to be more than just being about what's absolutely necessary, we have a network around us which needs an element of input and equality in order to thrive. What is a life without wonderful friendships and relationships? All contributing to adding layers and enriching our experience along whatever direction we pursue, it can be a lonely path when selfishness prevails, even if it is only because you initially just wanted to cope and not let anyone down.
We're brought up and encouraged to explore our own individualities, to forge our own opinions, to make our own judgements on the world, and yet, even in this day and age, we're often discouraged when we genuinely want to explore our own routes.
This a key reason behind so many successful people. They are driven by their inner passion to succeed, they have to feed that permanent hunger of their internal needs. And the minute the successful people get happy? Everyone else gets happy.
We are a happy and simple people, that's all we wish for. I've never been to your lands, but I can feel what you are doing. It feels like a very grim, unhappy place where you live. You must only ever talk about death.' The Eastern European shaman was talking about the Western European culture.
Everyone sits down and says the relationship is in trouble and then tells me the many ways in which the other person is lacking. The conversations are always about what's missing between them or how thing have changed, and a litany of the other person's shortcomings, long before they might mention their own contributions.