I intend to write this love letter to selfishness so that I may hold my head up high when my face is covered in powdered sugar tomorrow, on Fat Tuesday. I'm going to unburden myself. Join me, won't you? It begins, as it always does, with sorting out thought from reality.
What is your reaction to the word Selfish? Speaking it out loud, does it resonate anywhere in your body? If we're sorting the words, Selfish and Selfless, which one belongs in the "bad" bin and which one in the "good"? Think of a story about Selfishness and see how far away from self you go. "I can't ask him to close the window. I'm really cold, but if I ask to close the window it will mean that I think what I want is more important than what he wants. I mean, I don't want him to feel bad. How clueless can he be though, it's so emmer effing cold in here! Grrrrrrrrrr....(stomps out, puts on martyr slippers and huddles under blanket limp with self-pity) The part that hurts is the meaning we make of a thought. What does Selfish mean to you?
Lately I've been trying to frame my thinking in terms of energy management, bringing mindfulness to how I want to spend my energy. I didn't visit my Dad today, I used the last banana, instead of making dinner, I went out with friends tonight, I still haven't sent our thank you cards out. This is a list of facts, and I decide the meaning that gets made and how much energy to spend. What would I experience if I just didn't mind being Selfish? But won't that give me license to behave badly?? Sure, and why not? I will definitely behave badly in my lifetime. The only difference now is that I'm not fighting reality and so I won't punish myself when it happens. It's Paczki Day tomorrow, everybody, and I may not share. At my center, aligned with reality, I am at peace with the Both/And of life- I am both sides of the coin and no longer limited by This OR That. Who would I be if I didn't mind? Someone with loads more energy! Could being selfish give me license to think of myself first, make a priority of my needs? That's also possible, and it could be good. Or bad, your choice. Exercising this kind of self love means radically accepting what you've called "good" and "bad" as part of the ride. Either way, you, perfectly innocent you, are doing the best you can, worthy of love.