It seems like such a common conflict out there is to be stuck between being selfish and being selfless, helping yourself and helping others.
But it’s possible that having this conflict reveals that there’s something off in the way that either of these things is being pursued, either being selfish and helping yourself, or being selfless and helping others.
It seems like if they are pursued in the right way, there should be no conflict.
In fact, one helps the other.
If you really want to be selfish and help yourself, and that’s the only thing that matters, if you’re hurting other people in the process, it may not go well for you.
And in fact, if you’re helping others, that could lead to better results for you.
It seems like it is possible to be completely self-interested and yet still choose to help other people.
On the simplest level, because helping other people can bring friends and allies and supporters, which are much more likely to lead to a good life for you, compared to people who don’t care about you and are indifferent, and certainly compared to those who are your devoted enemies.
If you have lots of enemies, even if you’re able to defeat them all, having unnecessary enemies is just going to drain your ability to have a good life.
And having friends and supporters will bring so much more to life, make the world you live in a warmer place.
But even on a higher level than this, we all need to be part of something bigger than ourselves, I believe, in order to be truly satisfied in life.
So that purely living for ourselves with no interest beyond it, we become trapped within ourselves, and just concerned about always chasing good things for ourselves, and ultimately shrinking the world around us, making the world we live in smaller and smaller around ourselves.
We’re always worried, trying to make sure everything goes right for ourselves, and there’s nothing deeper that we can plug into.
By helping others, on the other hand, we become part of something bigger than ourselves, and can give ourselves so much satisfaction.
So this is a selfish argument for being selfless.
Now, on the other hand, the selfless argument for being selfish: if we live only for other people, pour out our lives, pour out all our energy towards helping other people, and don’t care about ourselves don’t take care of ourselves, how long can we go on? How long can we last? How long can we keep helping people if we let ourselves crumble? I see it so often: people just not taking care of themselves, full of this passionate altruism, giving nature, really wanting to help others, they’re really plugged into the bigger picture, they have this higher meaning that they feel they’re part of, and yet they’re not taking care of themselves.
Now, if you imagine the only thing you care about is helping other people, and you don’t care about yourself at all, still it makes sense to take good care of yourself.
You can think of yourself as a machine for helping others, a machine for doing good.
You don’t see any value in taking care of yourself, but if you care about other people, you want to keep your engine of caring in good condition.
You want to keep your machine of generosity, your machine of altruism, you want to keep that in top condition, so that you can continue to help other people.
So when you decide “Oh, I’ll just skip that healthy meal, I’ll skip having a good night’s sleep, I’ll skip my exercise”, or whatever taking care of yourself it is, you can think: you’re hurting other people by doing that.
By not taking a break for yourself, not doing what you need to do to keep yourself in good condition, you are hurting other people.
Because by making yourself weaker, less capable, more stressed and therefore more concerned with just surviving and less able to do good work, you’re taking away from the help that you can give to others.
So by thinking this way, you can be completely selfless, have no care about yourself whatsoever, and still take care of yourself.
So I find this a fun way to keep that balance between selfishness and selflessness, between caring about myself and taking care of others.
If I find I’m caring too much about myself, I can remember how much I need other people for myself.
And if I find I’m caring too much about others and not enough about myself, then I can remember how much I need to have myself in good working order and taken care of so that I can help others.
It seems like the best result possible is that we can use these two things together, have these two merge together, so that we don’t have to see it as a conflict between the two.
We can actually see the two fully united together, so that we feel, when we’re helping others, we feel we’re helping ourselves, and when we help ourselves, we feel we’re helping others.
They can be two sides of the same job and we can
#selfish #selfless #selfishless