I’m selfish. Most people respond to that statement with, “we’re all selfish—we have to be selfish in order to be healthy—in order to take care of another we have to take care of ourselves.” I’ve known how selfish I am for a while and it’s not your average selfish. I’ve always blamed the fact that I’m an only-child and I was spoiled growing up. My dad enjoyed spoiling me, and my mom didn’t know any other way. Her mother died when she was 8 years old and her father wasn’t around so I suppose she didn’t really understand the potential pitfalls in spoiling a child.
To be honest, I think I have borderline personality disorder. I’m going to switch topics for a moment and talk about mental disorders. When I say something like “being selfish is symptomatic of borderline personality disorder”, some see that as an excuse, as if I’m excusing my bad behavior. I’m not and I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily important to assign a reason as to why I am the way I am. The reason I like to assign a disorder is to better explain all of the symptoms, or traits and also environmental causes. I also feel knowing that I “have a disorder” makes me more culpable, or holds me accountable. I know what’s going on, so I can handle it appropriately.
So, back to the topic at hand. What do I mean when I say I’m selfish and to what lengths do I go? I expect a lot from other people. I need to be taken care of in many ways. I don’t keep people in my life if they don’t respect that. My husband understands this. Does this me he’s “whipped”? No because I take care of him as well—albeit on my own terms. I support him and I would do anything for him. I have always been honest with him and given him respect and kindness. I’ve taken care of him through thick and thin, just as much as he takes care of me. He runs errands for me and I cook for him.
So many women tell me how lucky I am because my husband takes care of our baby whenever he’s home. I love her and I give her all of the attention I have, but I sometimes feel like I’m going to go crazy if I don’t have a break. As soon as my husband gets home from work, he takes her. He changes her diapers, feeds, her etc. On his weekends he takes care of her all night so I can sleep. I’m so used to being catered to that I feel like I’m going to have a mental breakdown if I don’t get my “me” time. I have an anxiety disorder along with PTSD and bipolar, it’s taken me a long time not to expect some type of special treatment.
I like to write about myself. I like to talk about myself and I like improve myself. I shy away from people because they don’t fit in my life; they don’t go by my rules. Of course the anxiety disorder doesn’t help as far as shying away from people.
When I was young if I didn’t like what was for dinner my mom would make something else. If I didn’t want to go to school my dad would write me a note. Whatever I wanted, if it was within reach, I got it. Some people were vocal about thinking that it wasn’t right, so I didn’t like those people—they didn’t understand and I didn’t care for them. My life was bad so I deserved special treatment to make up for the trauma. Entitlement was intrinsic to my nature, or so it seemed. I didn’t know at the time how detrimental living selfishly could be. I’ve discovered that tough love really is for the person receiving it and difficult for the person giving it. Maybe that’s the reason my mom had difficulty with discipline and setting boundaries. Her love for me made it hard for her to see that I would have forgiven her for punishing me and I would have understood someday that it was for best. In her defense, I made discipline nearly impossible with my demeanor and my dad certainly didn’t help, insisting that a kid was supposed to have fun and be care free. He had to work a lot as a child and he thought that I shouldn’t have to.
I want to be special and beautiful and kind and looked up to—oh yeah, and I want to be smart! I want to be perfect! I’ve spent a lot of time reading to make sure I’m not stupid. I have spent money on make-up, hair extensions and other beauty products. I post pictures of myself from the best angle in the best lighting to portray the person that I want to be. Ironically, if you look closely, the thinly veiled truth is apparent unbeknownst to the subject on display. The edited selfie taken with the camera on “glamour mode” elucidates a quiet desperation, a desire to be adored. Most people want to feel attractive and smart; there wouldn’t be a glamour mode on cameras if no one was using it. When does one cross the line and become a bad person?When does vanity devour humility and degrade ones character.
The perennial debate: is there virtue in selfishness? Can one even be completely selfless? Is it a bad thing be selfish? I do want to help other people, but it makes ME feel good. Is that using my selfish nature for good—perhaps? The primary reason I want to help someone else is because I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for the help of other people. My husband—my counselor—my mother and so many other people acting simply as good Samaritans. I want to give someone that gift.
I think one categorical imperative—one line that should never be crossed is jealously to the point desperation; to envy someone else so much that you dislike, or even hate them. I’ve been there. That is something I’ve really been working hard to overcome the past few years. I think it’s important to praise others for their good qualities, even if you don’t embody them. It’s also important to be humble. I try to let love consume me and eliminate hatred from my life. A great saying I once heard, “I am better than no one, and no one is better than me.” I try to remind myself of these words often and live by them. I plan to teach my daughter to live by these words and be thankful for everything she has—which is another line that shouldn’t be crossed. It’s difficult to be envious and thankful at the same time. I spent a lot of my life not even knowing what I had. I went though a lot of trauma as a child and wanted a different life at the time. I was never taught to be thankful for what I had, no matter how much or how little it was.
A few days ago I posted a link to donate to my blog so I could afford my own website and advertising. My husband and I share money and I could pay for my own domain—we talked about it the other day and he’s on board. I just thought I would give readers the option of donating. I put a lot of time and effort into my writing. My blog is important to me and it doesn’t go over those lines that I’ve put in place to keep myself in check. Not only is it therapeutic (something much needed for a new mother) but it could help someone else. Selfish or not—someone other than myself is potentially benefiting.
Anyway, after I posted this link to donate a lone comment was posted “sounds like it’s all about you”. For some reason I wasn’t offended, I just wondered how many people thought the same thing. How many people saw this as selfish— pitiful even. I wont call this person out by name but I will say I found it a bit underhanded to comment and then not reply to my responses (I posted them moments after his comment so I’m pretty sure he saw them).
Either way I should thank him because he really sparked something. I started to think about my nature and if I was living the right way. I came to the conclusion that I am. I have changed and Im not the selfish girl I once was. Im not the brat, depicted in the previous paragraphs. I take care of my daughter and my husband. I go to therapy weekly and write in order to work through my feelings and better myself, not only for me, but for my family. I live my life with love and passion. I put myself under a microscope, examining every bit of myself publicly and I enjoy it. I lift others up and humble myself. Ask yourself if you can say the same. Are you humble? Have you put someone else down or pointed out their failures to make yourself feel better, or do you lift them up and take joy in the goodness of your fellow man? Do you pray for others, or only for yourself? Do you hide behind the guise of religion, keeping your negative thoughts hidden? I know who I am, and I am good. Mankind is better of with me and that is really what counts, isn’t it?