Without much doubts, I’m a selfish person. But again, who isn’t?
I read in a book this statement: “There are only 3 types of matters in this world. Your personal matters, matters that belongs that others and lastly, matters arranged by “God”. What we can do is to take care of our own matters and do not be bothered about others’ matters (others include parents, our spouses, children, friends and loved ones). And for matters created by “God”, nobody can ever change anything.”
What a selfish statement, I thought.
But as I put down the book and pondered, I realised that with or without the influence of the statement, human have been selfish in many ways through our daily actions and behaviours and words. Even when we care and try to help someone, it is also out of selfish thoughts.
Selfish is defined as “devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.”
And from the definition, it is definitely not an understatement that all of us are selfish (though we have always told ourselves that we have others’ interest at heart).
When we were born and as we grow up, looking for happiness has been our main objective in life. There is absolutely no one who really wish to have a difficult life.
However, as we pursue our own happiness, we tend to hurt others through our actions, words and decisions inevitably. There are so many real life examples that can prove the selfishness we hold within us. And we witness the different consequences of our selfishness, either big or small impact to others.
As parents, we have always hoped that our children will grow up with success intellectually. We nag and reprimand and sometimes resort in shouting, with the excuse that whatever we say or do is for the children’s good. But in actual fact fact, we have done so out of our own pride, our own wishes and also to avoid the feeling of guilt should they go astray. If only we can really let them be and make their own decisions base on their interest and skills, it will be the most truthful love we can give them.
The unspoken expectations between a couple are also selfish thoughts. We wish that our spouse or the other half will live up to our expectations. When we are in love, we feel secure, being loved and the world is so beautiful. But when things don’t turn out well, or we have lost that feeling, we leave or ask for separation to satisfy our own search of happiness, neglecting the fact that the other person will be going through torments.
On the other hand, the party who refuses to let go begins to display signs of disappointment, sometimes even signs of depression. In actual fact, what he or she cannot let go is the pride of being deserted. It’s a selfish thought.
As children, we have always hoped that our mom and dad will be the best parents in this world. But there is no perfection in this world, and yet we expect our parents to treat us the way we want, and thought that they should sacrifice for us. In contrary, we made decisions that upset our parents, disregarding their feelings and often we are able to find excuses for our selfish acts.
Looking around all the people in our working environment, regardless whether is it a big or small organisation, we witness each and every one of us are all selfish being. No matter how hard working and helpful a colleague is, the actions are out of recognition, popularity or just a simple desire for self happiness.
Human beings are selfish because we need recognition, especially from the ones we love. Through our selfishness, we search for reasons to make ourselves feel good and to avoid guilt. More importantly is that we seek for happiness, sometimes at the expense of others.
Our angers, disappointments, laughter and sadness are all results of our selfish thoughts. When things don’t go the way we wish to, we begin to feel a series of emotions arising within ourselves. That’s because we have failed to find the happiness that we are seeking.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong from being selfish. What’s more important is what are the results of our selfishness and can we achieve a win win situation for all parties in our search.
If we take charity or doing good deeds as an example, it seems to be an act of compassion, giving without expecting any returns, but to a certain extent, we are doing it out of our selfish thoughts too.
Some people donate to gain fame, some do it to reduce their sins, and of course there are some who genuinely wish to help the less fortunate, but at the end of the day, what they are looking for is their own happiness out of helping others.
The good thing is that such selfish acts are win-win for both parties. The one who does good deeds receives recognition and praise, and from within the heart, they achieve happiness and peace. But if doing good deeds will bring upon ourselves dangers or troubles, how many of them will really extend their help?
To be selfless is to give without expecting anything in return, but is there anybody in this world who can really do that? Many a times, even the greatest and wisest men in the historic past have also been selfish to their loved one in pursue of the great stuff that they have achieved.
I have been thinking what have I done that was truly selfless? Even the small little act of sheltering the old man in my prose “Do not disregard small good deeds” was also a selfish act, because I have done it to feel happy and not guilty.
This is a fact and reality that no one will admit. No matter how many reasons we can find, it’s just an excuse. So why don’t I just admit that I am indeed selfish?