For many years, I have been told that selflessness is a virtue in life. It is a common strategy used to get people thinking beyond their comfortable zone. There’s no doubt that selflessness will give opportunity for people to grow and develop. For many years, I thought selflessness is to put others before me. I rearrange things for others’ benefits. I suppressed my own feelings for others. I risked my wellbeing for others. I sacrificed a portion of my life for others. Then, slowly I lost my own self. I neglected my true feelings, my being, and my existence. I felt no one really cared about me when I needed.
Recently, I’ve discovered a concept of selfcare. It was a very evoking concept to put myself first before others. This actually gave me mixed feelings of selfish, guilty, pleased, and uncomfortable. To be honest, feeling of selfish and guilty occupied more than any other feelings. Why? Because I was grateful for things I have in my life that others might not. I was aware that I was having a good life when others can’t. I thought I was having a life that I didn’t deserve it all. So I was willing to give a portion of my life to others who may needed.
Few days ago, I’ve attended a meeting. During this meeting, a person share his story about how selflessness of other people supported him through his challenging times. Learning from this, when he selflessly supported another person, this had transformed his life. This got me confused between selflessness and selfcare. Where’s the boarder? Being selfless, I’ve lost myself. Being selfcare, I found myself. Are they suggesting me to go back to where I used to be? to lose myself again?
I’ve discussed this concern with several friends who observed my journey of being selfless to selfcare. A friend had shed a light to this confusion. She hold a jag of water and said:
“One day, you might selflessly give a portion of yourself to your family. Next day, you might selflessly give another portion of yourself to your friend. Following day, you might selflessly give remaining portion of yourself to another person. Now you can see this jag is empty. Then you have to become selfish to fill your jag again in order to become selfless again.”
Sometimes you need to be selfish to be selfless.Edward Albert
I looked puzzled and she continued.
“You remember that right hand, left hand theory? Your right hand is to give and your left hand is to receive. Although these acts seems two different things but in fact it is simultaneously acting at the same time. It is inseparable between selfless and selfcare. You need both to maintain your wellbeing.”
These words of inseparable and simultaneous shed the light to my confusion. I didn’t have to be one or the other; being selfish or selfless. It is an act that I have a choice, when to and who to enact is my choice. No matter which act I’ve chosen at that given moment, that is the correct choice for myself.
Will you be selfless, ready to give? or will you be selfish, taking care of yourself?