artwork by Kenglye (http://kenglye.deviantart.com/)
I believe that there is always a hidden ability in every “flaw”. I put flaw into quotations because as I’m going to point out, a flaw doesn’t really exist. I’ll be honest here, I’m a selfish and judgmental person, which is something about myself that I don’t feel I can change (even though I try sometimes). But, that’s not a limitation, that’s just a characteristic. We’ve been trained that we need to be a certain way to coexist and so a lot of people struggle with themselves to try to fit into a mold that they feel they should be part of. Of course, you can’t do that. You are somewhat stuck with a certain characteristic that was either passed down to you through genetics or just a reaction to past life events, be it your parents, family and friends or some form of a traumatic experience.
There are some people who are better tuned to being empathetic toward others, but that’s just not me. Selfishness isn’t anything that’s good or bad, it just is. However, I’ve learned how to twist my selfishness into being more useful and productive while still being concerned for the well-being of others. Like everything in life, this is just a matter of perspective. This is something I like to call “Wise Selfishness”. You may think of yourself as an individual, and you are, but that’s not the whole story. Think of the world as one giant fish tank. You can’t get away from whatever the other fish are expelling. The slimy scales they shed or the poo laden rock floor, the algae that floats and sticks to whatever it can, the current. Whatever happens in that tank, affects other things and you are just one of those other things. All interconnected in some way. Your individuality exists but it doesn’t matter, you’re forced into this uncomfortable fish tank regardless of your opinion on it. So, how is this selfish fish supposed to act unselfishly? Well, consider that if that other fish swimming around close to you is having a bad day, you’re also likely to have a bad day because of it, because you’re stuck and you can’t get out of the tank. The only thing you can do is try to help the other fish if you don’t want to have your day ruined. Sure, you can try to stay away from it or hide under a rock, but even those options don’t result in you having a good day because you’re compromising your situation. You had to change your situation to avoid something worse which ends up being bad, but not as bad. I’m always looking for a win\win situation here and I’m willing to bet most people are.
So, now you’re helping others out so you can help yourself. Pretty basic idea. Now, add several billion people to this equation and you have yourself something more complex. You see, we all act selfishly as though none of our actions affect others and vice versa. We think we can avoid having our days affected by others by avoiding them. We just want to hide under a rock till the storm is over and maybe have something to talk about at the end of the day. Truth is, everyone becomes affected. This does not mean that you should confront the next person having a bad day or to over step your boundaries. It does mean that you should consider that your selfishness may not just be limited to your individuality, but encompasses everything. This is about understanding, not action. Or better yet, understanding so you can act.
Stay selfish, but be wise about it.
That’s the end of my article for today, but next time I’ll talk about the bright side of being judgmental.