Selfishness vs. Selflessness
I've been learning lately there are 2 me's. There's the positive, loving, encouraging, selfless, giving version of me. The man who supports his wife. The man who gets down on the floor and plays with his kids, no matter how much there is to get done. The man who makes time for writing letters to leave around town.
All good stuff. I like that version of me.
But there's another side of me that comes out. And I hate that version of me. That version of me is selfish, stubborn, judgemental & angry. That version of me says things that are cruel. That me doesn't take care of himself. That me thinks thoughts that the other version of me is downright ashamed of.
I desperately want to be the man my wife fell in love with. And yet, sometimes I hurt her. Sometimes I put what I want ahead of supporting and loving her. Even though I know when she feels lifted up and encouraged my world is loads more fun.
I've been doing some deep internal work lately to find out where this selfish version of me comes from. I don't want to settle for the 'it's just human nature to be selfish' because that's an excuse to cover up my asshole side. The loving version of me doesn't like making excuses. I'm thinking this selfishness comes from my childhood. I was an only child. My parents spoiled me. So much so I could throw a fit to get whatever stupid G.I. Joe or Transformer I wanted. I was such a little turd at times, but my parents enabled me because they wanted me to be happy.
Unfortunately, I've carried those tendencies into adulthood, but I learn when I'm selfish I hurt people. And the last thing I want to do is hurt people, especially those I love most. I've been uncovering these tendencies, bringing them to the surface, so I can work on removing those aspects of my life.
An example. Jenny's been working so hard on her LulaRoe business lately. And that's left me picking up the slack on Hello Happiness, as well as being responsible for more meals, keeping the house clean, making sure the kids do their school work, etc. But Jenny is SOOOOO happy & energized with the work she's doing to help other women feel more beautiful. I don't mind the work on most days, and on those days, I realize I'm serving from a place of abundance, which is a healthy place to give from. Those days I feel great.
But on some days I find myself giving from a place of sacrifice, and I find as the day goes on I begin to resent people because I'm 'giving' them so much & not feeling grateful for what I'm getting back. There's that selfishness rearing it's ugly head.
So how do I work on giving from a place of abundance over sacrifice? Because that's the key, right? This is what works for me, maybe you'll find something that works for you?
I heard Orly Wahba say on a podcast recently that she wants to "fall in love with me for me." As in, she wants to live a life of self love for herself. It doesn't matter what others think, because she's going to do things that lift her up and make her happy regardless of what others might say about her.
I started there. I'm working on falling in love with me for me. I'm working on doing things that give me joy, regardless of what others might think. That looks like smiling & conversations with strangers. That looks like crying & hugging with the people who stop in our craft fair booths & we connect over stories of depression & how love can help. It looks like wearing shorts & flip flops even thought it's 30 degrees out & snowing. I'm falling in love with me for me.
The second thing I'm working on is awareness. Because when the selfishness comes up, I can't move to a place of selflessness unless I'm aware of what I'm doing. That means being humble enough to recognize my shortcomings and owning up to the people I may have hurt. In fact, the other night it was so bad, I made sure I went to each of my kids & Jenny individually & apologized to them. I told them I acted in ways that were not in line with who I want to be, that I'm not perfect but I'm working on it.
That's the hardest part for me, apologizing for my mistakes, because that means that I hurt someone I love, but I can't bury it and not say I'm sorry. That won't change the fact that I still hurt them. Bonus: I want to be a living example for my kids to know they are never expected to be perfect and they're going to mess up from time to time and that saying sorry is key to healing and forgiveness and for deep fulfilling relationships.
Ultimately, my goal here is to love others better. And to do that, I have to love myself first. It's a lot harder to truly love and accept others if you don't love and accept yourself. I want the people I come meet to know they are seen, loved and valued, just for being who they are. I want people to believe in themselves and to know they have some amazing gifts to offer the world.
But it starts with me. And it starts with you. Imagine a world where we all just loved ourselves, faults and all. Imagine the love you'd have to give to those in your life if you started with loving yourself. If you knew you were enough, no matter what, and that nobody can ever take that away from you. What if you emobodied those sentiments? Because it's true. You are SO loved. Let's trust that we're all doing the best we can, and live and give from that space. Kindness and love are worth it. You're worth it.