Feminist Friday: You Aren't Selfish. You're Human.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Photo Credit: http://casheefoo.deviantart.com/art/lovely-gift-332146486
You Aren't Selfish. You're Human.
It’s not selfish to be human.

What does it mean to be selfish?

The dictionary definition of selfish is “lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.” Notice the word chiefly. In the popular definition of selfish we seem to forget about this word, or perhaps underestimate it’s meaning.

We have turned the definition of selfish into “concerned and/or attentive to one’s own personal needs.” It doesn’t matter whether we spend 90% of our time concerned about and considering others. We are called selfish if we think about ourselves at all. If we take time to consider our own needs.

We are considered selfish for being human.

I understand where the contradiction came from, though. I understand than in an ideal world, we would all just take care of each other, and wouldn’t need to ever worry about ourselves because everything would be taken care of. I have fallen into this trap of thinking many times because it’s really a beautiful ideal. It would be truly wonderful if everyone in the world had a responsibility to take care of everyone in their lives.

But of course, the ideal world isn’t reality.

In reality, only we can be responsible for our care and the fulfillment of our needs because ultimately we are the only ones who can know what those needs are. Our feelings are our own. Nobody else can feel them for us. Therefore, it’s ridiculous to assume that we are selfish for taking care of our needs, for acknowledging that we have them. We all do.

I hate to burst your bubble, but we’re all only human.

And it’s time we started to accept this.

Of course, there is a fine line between wants and needs. I realize many of us might have a hard time distinguishing the two. But that comes with being honest with yourself. And the road to being honest with yourself begins with the acceptance that you are human. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to suffer. You’re not ever going to have everything in your life completely figured out.

But that’s okay.

You’re not selfish if you are unhappy. You’re not selfish for knowing what you want, or not knowing, or taking time to figure it all out. You’re not selfish for having needs and for taking care of them. You’re not selfish for taking care of yourself, for putting energy toward creating the best you possible. You’re not selfish for loving yourself, respecting yourself, and accepting yourself. 

You are human.

You are selfish when you aren’t honest with yourself or others. You are selfish when you put your energy toward creating an inauthentic self and/or life. You are selfish when you pretend to be something you’re not. You are selfish when you are chiefly concerned with the external profits the world has to offer. When you are concerned with what the world has to give you rather than what you have to give the world. When you forget that the only thing you have to give the world is your authentic self. 

We were all here for a purpose, but we can’t fulfill that purpose if we don’t live authentically.

Don’t be selfish.

Be honest. Be real. Be human.

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