We Need to Be Selfish

15 11 2008


I know what you’re thinking; we need to be selfish, what? Haven’t we always been taught to give more than we receive? It’s true, we have. That ‘philosophy’ is wrong.

I was talking to a friend of mine today, we are both very similar people. We both constantly give people more of ourselves than what we really have and never leave much (if anything) for ourselves. Today we were both having slight rants and we were discussing some issues we were both having. All of a sudden my friend typed onto the screen (we were on msn) “It’s good to be selfish, we need to be selfish”. I thought about that for a bit; what in the world is he talking about? is what I kept thinking.

Then it occured to me, he is RIGHT. People in general, due need to be somewhat selfish. Life is NOT all about giving. In order to give, we must all receive. Because, if all we do is give and give and give… there is nothing left. Look at it this way (you don’t actually have to do this, just think it through):

Open a box, or a bag, of candy.

Ask yourself this question, do you want to share (give) your candy to a lot of people or just a few?

Your answer will tell you how big your box or bag is.

Let’s go with a small bag, it holds 5 candies (for ease in this explanation).

You give one candy to your mother and one to your father.

You then decide that you would like to give a candy to one of your friends, so you go to meet that friend.

When you meet up with that friend, one other friendof yours is there.

So, you have to give two candies away

(because you wouldn’t want to be mean and only give a candy to one friend).

Then you decide to walk home. On your way home you meet a child.

The child is crying because they just fell off their bike and hurt themselves.

Without hesitating you give your last candy to the child.

The child and your two friends, and your parents are all happy.

But, you realize, now you don’t get a candy. What happens if no one gives you a candy?

You gave other people candy, those people who needed that candy from you perhaps.

Now, you don’t get any candy because you didn’t get any in return.

Now, turn the candy into your emotional threshold. What happens? There is nothing left for you (just like the candy). When something happens in your life (perhaps stress from school, relationship issues, or something else) there is nowhere for you to put those emotions because you have given all that room away to other people. If the candy thing didn’t really work for you (which it may not have, it was just the first thing that I could think of) try the same or similar story using something else.

The point of this, is the fact that we, as people NEED to be selfish. Not selfish to the point of hoarding everything and keeping everything for ourselves. We all need to live as a give AND take community. If someone wants to offer us something, we can’t just simply take and never give anything back. For some of us (some of you reading this may be part of the ‘us’) we are always the givers and we never get anything back (we may or may not expect it).

Again, truth be told…. we have all been lied to all these years. We NEED to be selfish.

I would appreciate your feedback on this.




6 responses

15 11 2008

You make a really good point. If you always give of yourself what is left for you in the end? And if eventually you give everything away then eventually you will have nothing ot give away anyways. You candy example was really good. This is definately something I’ve been thinking about lately and I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees the importance of this. Although being selfish for us givers seems to be harder said than done, which defiantely says something about our society and what we’ve been taught.

16 11 2008

I see your point about not giving everything away but I have to say I still think that by giving away a part of us it helps us grow. Firstly, if we all started being totally selfish there would be no one to help cheer up the child in your story who fell of their bike. To relate that to everyday life, we all are grateful when a friend brings over icecream without hesitation after you have had a bad day. I think it is important to ballance the two. you need to watch that you don’t end up giving away all that you have so that you are emotionally drained, but without people giving unconditonally then the world would be a very lonely place.

16 11 2008
Andrea Prizeman

@Jocelyn Please don’t take my post the wrong way. In no way am I saying that we shouldn’t give to people (hence give and take). Take specifically the last paragraph for example:
“Not selfish to the point of hoarding everything and keeping everything for ourselves. We all need to live as a give AND take community. If someone wants to offer us something, we can’t just simply take and never give anything back.”

I think you are looking at selfish as a completly negative term. In this instance selfish is not a negative term. Instead, selfish is an uplifting, soul-saving term; because there are people (like myself… and I will gladly give you examples in a less ‘open’ setting), who give much more of themselves then is actually possible (hence the story). These people then have difficulties coping with their own issues and there is (more often than not) no one to give back to them.

Those people who give unconditionally are usually the ones that no one thinks to offer anything back to.

16 11 2008
18 11 2008

I wish I was selfish. It’s definitely hard having to give all the time. You are so right Andrea!

18 11 2008
Andrea Prizeman

Thanks for commenting Vincent! I was hoping you would 🙂

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