Thursday, January 11, 2018

Self Interest or Selfishness- There's A Difference

For those who act from a proud and selfish reference point, what would it be like for you to choose from a kind and generous state of being? One is a fear based way of experiencing, and the other is from a loving place of choosing. When we act selfishly, completely self-absorbed, we fail to recognize how our behavior impacts others, it often causes damage and destruction in relationships and circumstances. Yes, your needs come first, but there is a difference between advocating for yourself from a balanced place, with healthy boundaries, then from an impulsive, unstable, selfish, place of being.

Self-interest is a concern for one’s own well-being, which is very healthy in helping you to be able to share and serve others.  To be selfish, is to be concerned exclusively with oneself- seeking or focusing on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for, and to the detriment of others. Folks do not need to possess a full on narcissistic personality to exhibit these tendencies. A narcissist has no awareness whatsoever of their self absorption, and really is not capable of it, while a selfishly motivated person, can have the ability to acknowledge their faults and correct it.

Proud and self centered people are competitive, dishonest, insecure, jealous, have inflated egos, have difficulty asking for help, think that they are better than others, attention seeking, disruptive, and are often overly dramatic. Selfish people are motivated to engage with others primarily for their own self interests. Typically once those interests are fulfilled, they discard you and move on to the next person or opportunity. Selfishly motivated people suffer from anxiety, depression and emptiness, much more frequently, because they are unable to maintain deep and meaningful relationships and opportunities. Their relationships are often shallow with the facade of something more meaningful. It’s the charm of the facade that keeps people engaged in the dynamic with them.  

If you have felt taken advantage of and for granted, you most likely have been entangled with a self absorbed person. To carry a healthy self-interest, is to have concern for one’s own well-being, while still being thoughtful of others. Healthy relationships are centered in both party’s self-interest, feels balanced, with mutual respect, positive regard, honesty, open communication, and thoughtfulness for one another. If the dynamic has felt competitive, dishonest, manipulative, imbalanced more then not, you are allowing yourself to be energetically drained. It’s up to you to look at your side of the dynamic, and set boundaries that are self honoring.

Typically, all of our patterns come from our family of origin. Perhaps you grew up with a family member who was self centered, dramatic, and provoked a lot of anxiety. While seeking their approval and to alleviate anxiety, you gave and gave, trying to please them, receiving very little or nothing in return. And since you were starving for their praise, when they would give something, often to their benefit, you reveled in it, and stayed engaged in the feedback loop. When these family based patterns are unresolved, we find ourselves recreating them in our adult relationships. 

On the contrary, if you are reading this and are realizing that you often act selfishly, you too most likely had this behavior modeled, and have continued the pattern to get what you want because that's your wounding and what you know to do. The good news is, if you want to shift the pattern, on either end of the spectrum, you can choose to act differently at any time.

To be self-honoring, is saying, No, to requests that don’t resonate, or require you to compromise yourself in some way. A helpful way to discern what you say, Yes or No, to, is to ask yourself, 'If by saying, Yes, to this, will I feel resentful later?' If the answer to the question is, Yes, honor yourself and say, No. Give the same understanding to yourself that you give to others who turn your requests down. You can also take a look at how much you are truly receiving from the relationship, and begin mirroring it, rather then putting more energy into it then what you have been receiving. In doing this, you may find the person disappears because they can no longer take advantage or drain you of energy.  A frank conversation can be had as well, that may result in mutual growth, or clarity that it's time to move on to people who are more nurturing. You cannot care about others if you don’t care enough to advocate for your needs.

Kind and generous people are not threatened by others success, be it in relationships, business, or in a sense of well-being, they are your cheerleaders. Kind and generous people are authentic, honest, humble, open to feedback, secure, enjoy collaboration, and unconditionally support others while maintaining healthy boundaries. They know that there is enough for everyone, due to their positive self regard, and are aware of their own unique talent- to them, there is no such thing as competition. 

We learn from all of our experiences because they teach us how to love our self more fully. Self absorbed people are not evil. They are wounded just as you are, which is the attraction point in the dynamic. Choose to have compassion for their and your wounding, by lovingly communicating your needs, or moving on in gratitude for the lessons learned. Once you are able to begin acting in your self-interest, you will attract different relationships that reflect that.  Kind and generous people live enriching lives of opportunities and connection with others who reflect the same quality.
So how do you choose to be? 

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