Not too long ago I was told someone’s definition of the word selfish. If you have brought my book and read it, you may already know what I’m talking about. I was told that selfish can be defined as…
‘When you take away the opportunity for people to be there for you the way you would be there for them’.
Hearing this was powerful. Extremely. It’s not often in my life I hear something that literally freezes time and makes me think ‘woah…’. If this is someone’s definition of selfish then I am the epitome of selfish. I am the most selfish person you’ll ever meet. I struggle with letting people in, opening up to them, telling them how I feel and letting them help me. However I will always ask people how they are and do whatever I can to make them feel better. I care about other peoples happiness much more than my own. In fact helping people is an escape of sorts from my own problems and thoughts.
When you think about it, it makes complete sense. We are selfish to do for others what we won’t let them do for us. Listening to people as they open up and helping them every step of the way yet when it comes to our own problems not letting them in at all. Not opening up and not telling them our feelings. It is unfair in a way. Look at how it could effect them. They could think ‘I’ve told them some of my darkest deepest thoughts and they won’t tell me anything.’
‘I confided in them why won’t they confide in me?’
‘I put my trust in them, can I actually trust them?’
There are so many ways it can backfire. Some of the worst, harshest ways actually affect yourself. You shut yourself off, you don’t allow love into your life. You don’t allow light, advice, clarity etc. Yet you know you crave it, as you help all these other people you wish someone would help you the same way. When someone does come along willing to hold your hand every step of the way, you push them away. With full force.
Why do we do this? Why are we this selfish?
Well one thing I have realised is that we aren’t always aware that we are being selfish in this way. A lot of the time we disregard our own problems, decrease their size in our minds, play them off as though they’re nothing serious. In reality they are hurting us deeply but subconsciously we act like they aren’t so that we can justify putting everyone else’s issues above our own. Another problem we have with telling other people our problems is that we don’t want to ‘bother’ them with it. We don’t want to be a ‘burden’. We don’t want to waste their time with our issues. What if they don’t really care? What if we are kidding ourselves? What if they laugh and think my problem is stupid? I know for one that I myself ask these questions when I have the opportunity to open up to someone. These questions are the reason I don’t. I, personally, always feel like by telling people my problems I could put negativity into their lives. Knowing that I could have contributed towards the negativity in someone’s life is a horrible feeling. I only ever wish to contribute positivity.
But here’s the thing,
I need to stop thinking this way because it is selfish. It does make me selfish. Not just towards others but towards myself. It isn’t fair on that part inside of me wanting to be rid of the problems, the part inside of me that craves help from people. It isn’t fair at all on that part of me. It makes me my own biggest enemy and harshest critic.
Think about it like this, we wouldn’t want to be called selfish so why do we partake in this particular selfish act. It may seem like the easier option, the easy way out, but in actual fact in the long run its the more difficult option. Letting our feelings and emotions build up inside us means that in the future they’ll be harder to solve. They will be harder to share and to get rid of.
Allow yourself the chance to get help, support, guidance and love from those desperate to give it to you. Let someone help you in the way you’d want to help them.