Welcome to America: land of the free and home of the brave. Where citizens go through daily struggles to fulfill this great “American Dream” (or whatever that is/means anymore). What Francis Scott Key or Kathrine Lee Bates didn’t know was that this great country was doomed from the start (even with their catchy, political drinking songs/poems). By doomed, I mean being more focused on something other than community and togetherness: ourselves and our selfishness.
Let’s be honest and face this reality: the majority of people in this country are egocentric. “Me, myself, and I.” Personally, I am guilty of having this mindset from time to time. Rather than being thankful for everything I do have (a wonderful, healthy family, great friends that I can rely on, financial means to get an education, food, a place to sleep, etc.) I focus on everything I don’t have: more so, things I want (more expensive tangible items, more currency, better versions of things I already have, etc).
Golly! Do hate myself when I notice these selfish thoughts creeping into my mind. Really though, I’m certain thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people in worse situations would LOVE to have a wonderful, healthy family. Great friends that they can rely on. Financial means to continue their education, food on the table, a place to sleep or possibly any combination of the these things..
I am so lucky to have these wonderful, blessed things in my life!
How selfish of me is it to want more? Clearly, feeling guilty about wanting more needs to be dealt with (hopefully I don’t feel alone in this matter).
From a psychological perspective, we are conditioned to want more, to need more to work up this damn “social ladder”. That instead of loving thy neighbor as thy self, we have this craving to be “better” than thy neighbor. Thanks to advertising, we assume by obtaining whatever product they are selling, we will become superior over everyone else that doesn’t have this product (sadly, essentially that is what it breaks down to).
But why pit people against each other? Why feel this need to be superior?
If everyone is working against everyone else, there would be no progress. Just really inflated prices on practically everything and generally speaking, unhappy people (kinda sounds familiar). Though I know many other factors are playing into the current inflation of prices, it makes sense to me. Everyone is too focused on being “better” than other people, it’s an inevitable and endless cycle of bullshit hierarchy. People became too greedy and have lost sight of what truly is important: community. Looking out for each other. Being honest-to-good people to everyone else, without any incentives.
Continuing from this thought through a different perspective, I will share with you a personal experience I have had with battling my own selfishness and fighting against myself to truly find my true potential as a “good” person: (I apologize for changing thoughts mid-blog, Welcome to the organization of my thought process)
Recently, I was faced with a personal dilemma of choosing to be that “honest to their word” person by giving my full-fledged honesty to someone I deeply cared about (selfless) or looking out for myself and keeping some personal information to myself (selfishness). I know, it is REALLY sad and pathetic. I had no idea I was doing this unconsciously until it came to my awareness. Of course, saying (typing) this it does sound VERY obvious which one is the right choice of the two. However, things are definitely easier said than done. Naturally, at first I chose the path of selfishness. Protecting my ego/self esteem was my priority at that time. But, after a while of contemplation, I realized how evil it was of me to withhold this information. That if I truly I cared for this person more than I cared about my own ego, I would be honest. People putting others before themselves are generally stories of true, selfless people. And that is exactly what I wanted to be. The more and more I thought about it, the more I knew what had to be done.
I was both the defeated and a conqueror in my great battle of selflessness. Defeated in the sense that my self esteem and happiness have greatly suffered, but still a conqueror for doing the right thing and being completely honest with this person. Sure, I feel like shit, but for feeling this way I still feel pretty damn good about it. Although it took all of the courage I had, I learned possibly my toughest lesson thus far:
Putting others before you is a genuine sign of kindness and selflessness towards that other person. Even if it means your own dissatisfaction, just knowing you did the right thing is the BEST feeling ever. Nothing can really compare to this feeling. Although on a smaller scale, fessing up to your mistakes as a child comes to a pretty close comparison.
Honesty composes a good majority of the core in selflessness.
As soon as we are honest with ourselves and others, life can be SO MUCH more enjoyable. Take it from me: someone who has struggled, but won in this great battle of selflessness.