Do you feel you’re selfish sometimes? Have you been thought of as selfish anytime?
I was moping around all day, all of the previous evening, because someone very close to me at work had pointed out that I was selfish. It was someone’s birthday, and they had offered me a piece (it was more like a slab) of cake with two inch-high pink and yellow icing.
First of all, I cannot stand even a millimeter of icing, let alone a pink and yellow mile-high icing! And secondly, when somebody brings a HUGE serving of something to eat, it throws me in a panic. Because I am a slow eater and usually find it very hard to throw away food! It’s comparatively easier for me not ever accept it. And I had just eaten a good lunch – my kind and did not have room for anything. So, I wished her well and passed the cake.
And with that, three of my “friends” ganged up to say how that was very selfish on my part to refuse the cake, causing the birthday girl to feel “upset.” Whoa!! That was a big blow to me, given how in my head, I thought of myself as more compassionate, giving, and generous. Even more than Mother Teresa!
So, all evening I sat and sulked around until when my neighbor, lady J, walked in with her little dog Snoop. The dog was a new addition to her family, and I had taken a liking to the pup. J was already a great friend. So, I decided to check with J if I was selfish to say no to the birthday cake. “Yes …!,” she said, looking me straight in the eye. Whaaat?? Just then, Snoop started scratching at the door. A wet doormat was the last thing I wanted, and so I hurriedly got up to let Snoop go out to relieve himself. And J continued ” … so is peeing!!” The way she said it, we both LAUGHED. In a straightforward sentence, everything was put into perspective.
So ladies, always remember – many life-sustaining processes are selfish. Breathing, peeing, putting the O2 mask on yourself first, going to bed when your loved one wants to watch telly, choosing to eat healthily, saying no to your colleague’s birthday cake, or even mom’s greasy plate of pakoras – many more! And that’s no reason NOT to do them.
So if you asked me today, if I’m selfish or if someone has thought of me as selfish – it’s yes and yes in my case. It keeps me alive and sane. When I speak of being selfish, I do not mean it in a petty way that I trample over other people’s rights. I mean it in a way that I honor my needs and my own judgment. I mean it in a way that I find it worthwhile to use my time and life to pursue what matters to me.
If you’re someone who’s looking to eat healthily, get enough sleep daily and exercise regularly, this is how it begins with this: you must d-e-e-p-l-y believe that learning and behaving in our interest is desirable. Even if this is sometimes in conflict with what somebody else wants for you, you must understand that you have no obligation to live up to their expectations. Not only is self-interest desirable, but it’s also the only way to be.
If your friend says you’re selfish about refusing to have a beer with her, remember to say to yourself – “Yes! So is peeing.” I’ll promise it’ll put everything in perspective.
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