A discussion about selfishness vs. self-care and how we each fit into all of it.

A mother of three wakes up one morning, and tells her husband, “I want a divorce. I’m done. I can’t do this anymore.”

Immediately all outside spectators choose sides based on the belief that her actions were caused by one of two motivators. Selfishness. Or self-care.

Those who think she acted in selfishness will take the side of the husband. They will call her self-centered, egotistical, narcissistic, and rash. They’ll insist she go back and work things out. They’ll dangle her children’s’ well being in front of her and predict lifelong problems and calamity for her family. And because of it all, they love her less. They treat her as less. They punish her for her choice.

Those who think she acted in self-care will come to her and offer support, help with the children, and give her a listening ear. They’ll make things easier for her. They won’t judge her. They become a better friend than they were before. Their love for this woman grows. They reward her for her choice.

A man active in his church comes home one day and tells his wife, “I don’t want to be a member of this church anymore. I don’t believe it. I never have. And I’m done.”

Immediately all outside spectators choose sides based on the belief that his actions were caused by one of two motivators. Selfishness. Or self-care.

Those who think he acted in selfishness, will talk behind his back about the “real” reasons he left the church. They’ll use him as an example in their church lessons. They’ll point out his downfalls and stumbles as proof of the consequences those who leave will inevitably face. And because of all of it, they love him less. They treat him as less. They punish him for his choice.

Those who think he acted in self-care will become a better friend to him. They’ll rally around him. They’ll encourage him to continue seeking truth and to always search for his happiness. They’ll offer unconditional support. Their love for this man grows. They reward him for his choice.

A single mom walks into her boss’s office and says, “I quit. I’m done. I can’t do this anymore.” She has no bankable plan on the horizon.

Immediately all outside spectators choose sides based on the belief that her actions were caused by one of two motivators. Selfishness. Or self-care.

Those who think she acted in selfishness will tell her to beg for her job back. They’ll call her irresponsible and careless. They’ll attempt to fill her with guilt for her choice. They’ll call her an irresponsible parent. And because of all that, they love her less. They treat her as less. They punish her for her choice.

Those who think she acted in self-care will encourage her and give her ideas of where she might go to find work that she enjoys. They’ll help her when she’s struggling. They’ll encourage her in her happiness. Their love for this woman grows. They reward her for her choice.

These are the three examples of the big life changer scenarios I talked about in the post Whose Life is it Anyway. And while many other examples could be used, they lay out perfectly an example of one of society’s biggest problems.

Now, I’m sure you were expecting this post to be about knowing whether your major life decisions are being done in selfishness or out of self-care. But come on, the majority of individuals know already whether or not they’re being selfish or whether their choices are being made for themselves as well as for others. Deep down they do.

That entire discussion could be this short:

A selfish person is one who does everything for himself with no thought for how his actions or choices will affect anyone else.

A self-caring person is one who does everything for himself, fully appreciating and sympathetic to how it will affect those around him. He also knows that sometimes what’s best for everybody is what’s best for himself. He knows that both his happiness and unhappiness trickle to every facet of his life, especially to his lover and his children.

There’s also a third person which we won’t talk about much today. It’s the selfless person. A selfless person is one who does everything for everyone else with no thought for himself. In other words, a doormat.

Don’t be a doormat. Don’t be a selfish wiener. Do what’s best for yourself and take care of those who surround you while you do.

And that’s it, that’s the whole discussion.

But it’s not that easy, is it. Not with society as part of the picture, too.

You see, society has created a wide-spread dynamic where the individual no longer has much opportunity to decipher for himself whether he’s being selfish or self-caring in his major life choices.

So, because those in society can’t keep the hell out of each other’s personal lives, and because those in society are obsessed with constantly judging one another, and because those in society have a very real need to stand behind people as either victims or villains… well, very little options exist for a person when he’s making such life changing, crucial decisions.

He can either paint a picture for all others that makes him a villain or he can paint a picture that makes him a victim or a saint. We all know that there’s nowhere in-between that the rest of the world will generally go with things.

This is so debilitating for a lot of reasons, mainly because it forces people to start backing up their tough decisions with smaller decisions that keep them victimized or beaten down. It becomes a show for outsiders to watch. How bad is the douche bag she’s leaving? How horrible were the people in the church he left? How crappy was her life at work?

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