• TGLM

SELFISH:VICE OR VIRTUE?

Updated: Jul 16, 2019


Photograph of Sophia Loren

Most people have an ingrained belief that if women chose to put our needs before others, we are acting in a selfish manner. 


I however question the character of a person who cannot say no to a request for help or time, when the outcome will mean severely neglecting their own needs and wants. 


I fail to understand the logic of sacrificing your needs, based on our conditioning to always put someone else first. 


We are all too eager and willing regardless of how it affects us, to sacrifice a little bit of ourselves in order to make someone else happy.


The ability to make a simple decision which should only be based on logic and reason, has been manipulated into a complex and emotional situation.


We are born an individual, with our own personality, wants, needs, likes and dislikes. 

Over the course of our lives our ability to retain our individuality is tested by our relationships.


We are labelled according to our relationships and these come with various expectations and a number of responsibilities.


Daughter, Receptionist, Son, Uncle, Radio DJ, Sister, Father, Teacher, Mother, Doctor, Husband, Wife, Friend etc. are generic labels. 


These are simple identification mechanisms which enables another person to easily recognize and identify who and what we represent in their lives. 


This identifies what our purpose/use is to them.


What we willingly admit, is our acceptance of the generic labels society has given us. What we don’t want to admit is that society has taught us to feel guilty when we try to remove the labels just for a moment, to attend to our own wants and needs.


Those of you who know me personally will say I am unselfish, and that I will help whoever needs it. This I do willingly, (here comes the ‘selfish’ part) however not at the expense of my wants and needs, and provided it will not end up encroaching on my personal time. 


Am I ‘selfish’?


Yes.


My kids I give the unselfish me in their times of need, and it comes with a specific time frame. This time frame is decided by me at that moment, in their specific situation and by their emotional state at that point in time. Any more and they will only learn to solve their problems by depending on me to fix them. It is important to me that their demands for my time, include allowances for me to still be left with something for myself.


Am I ‘selfish’?


Yes.


I am also selfish with the time I spend with my husband. Our kids don’t automatically have a right to get in our bed, they may not interrupt our conversations or sometimes go out with us. My husband is my partner, and in certain areas, he out ranks the kids. 


Overall where I am most selfish is with my time. I value what I need and want.

I out rank everyone else. 


Does this make me selfish? 


Yes.


Everyone has the right to be selfish in a positive way. Your responsibility is to accept that, and others have to learn to respect it.


Many of the people in my life have asked me why I see things the way I do, why my views always have to be different, and why can I not behave like I should, speak like a lady, dress better, wear lipstick etc. 


Let me tell you why. 


I am not part of a generic, rerun, replayed, rescreened show.

I am not an actress performing the story of my life. 


I am living my life!


Wife, mother, daughter, aunt, sister and friend. These are my roles, however none are guaranteed, nor are they eternal.


Some are daily roles, while others are occasional roles.


My parental role will over time become less demanding as my children will leave me to start their own families.


My husband could leave me or pass away. 

My parents and brother will also one day pass away. 


My only guaranteed and eternal role is the life I was given.


I will always be left with me regardless of how my experiences in life change.


If I gave all of me to everyone around me, what would I have left?



“The meaning ascribed in popular usage to the word ‘selfishness’ is not merely wrong: it represents a devastating intellectual ‘package-deal,’ which is responsible, more than any other single factor, for the arrested moral development of mankind.” Ayn Rand


Words by Natasha Huckfield


#OPINION #OPED

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