Selfishness: fulfilling the needs, wants, and desires of oneself and only oneself.
I would characterize myself as a selfish person. I was born the first child of two young adults and remained their only child for six and a half years. I grew up having everything about ME. My parents’ world was not their own once I was even so much as conceived–they made it all about me, as I’m sure every parent does when they have a child. Especially their first.
But getting passed all of that parent/child/first child developmental stages we’ve all gone through–i still came out selfish on the end of it all. Until recently, I have really begun to see my life really has been all about ME.
But it shouldn’t have been.
What is selfishness, really? Is it refusing to turn the stereo down despite the requests of your neighbors in the middle of the night? Is it refusing a family member to stay at your house at their request? Is it saying, “no I don’t have any change,” to give a homeless person when you know you just got a huge tax return that’s at the disposal of your debit card? Why are we, in the flesh, naturally selfish, but can recognize when others are being selfish at the exact same time?
I’ve heard that once you become a parent, your life will never be about “you” again. Your life literally becomes that child. While I can’t even comprehend the thought since I am not yet a parent, I truly believe that parents may just be the most selfless people on this planet.
Even though I haven’t crossed that threshold into parenthood, I like believe that over the last few years I’ve become less selfish. Not that I am completely selfless, but I am starting to see that it really is true–it’s not all about me. I’ve become so much more excited to give rather than receive. I’m more excited to watch others open my gifts to them on Christmas morning than to open my own gifts. I’ve learned that though I’m barely making ends meet now, as a college graduate, I still have so much more than so many people. I want to give back to the community and to others who aren’t as fortunate to have a degree, a nice apartment, or even a car.
While I am still technically in “me” mode, I like to think this selfishness that I recognize within myself continues to wear off within the next few years. Then I will cross that threshold and be completely selfless.