We are all inherently selfish. There is no escaping that fact no matter how altruistic or empathetic we may be. It can’t be helped of course, we process everything through our senses, our minds, before we take action, even if we do nothing, everything is first and foremost about ourselves.
Take this blog for example, it’s about me being better, trying to rise above my failures and inadequacies. Yes, I hope that through that I can let my son see his future can be whatever he determines it to be. And yes, there is the hope that my example might help trigger something in someone who feels they have lost their way or cannot see the hope that maybe just yet lies beyond their sight no matter how difficult their situation may be.
Even these words are expressing my thoughts, the feelings and circumstances I am dealing with, the actions I am taking to try to improve upon my very being.
But there is one important thing in this self-help, self-improvement, quest that you must be aware off. That I must be aware off. And that is everyone else. Your family and friends, the people who mean the most to you.
Take the previous night. I had sat down to finish off a post that had been taking longer than expected due to the normal difficulties any single parent faces. Time constraints. For myself they are slightly more pronounced in my current situation as my son will not go to bed until I do, so late night writing is out of the question. Early rising is also a write off 😉 as whenever I wake, he has to get up also, no matter how early. (We sleep in the same bed at the moment. He moved in the night his mother left, and despite my efforts to cajole him back into his own room he point-blank refuses. Which I can understand. He needs to know where I am and I guess he feels safer that way).
So basically I have a few opportunities to get sitting in front of the computer and if something obstructs those chances there is little I can do about it. I am on a very tight schedule so there is no chance of catching up either. If I miss my window it is gone and I have to wait for the next one. During the week these are usually the times my son is playing online with his friends or at the club he attends once a week.
So the previous night I was just about to go upstairs and get writing when my son and his friends had decided they were done playing online. I don’t like to leave my boy sitting on his own too long, but as I had been ruminating about what I was going to write, I said to him I would be half an hour getting something finished up.
That half hour turned into almost an hour and by the time I got downstairs to him it was almost 9 O’Clock. I had just walked into the room, thinking about what I was going to have for supper, when he immediately asked me to play a game with him. (It’s quite a physically active game involving us beating each other with a soft, squishy poo toy. Which sounds quite awful now that I read it but it’s just one in a long line of silly games he and I have invented over the years).
My reaction. One of protest: “Auch son, I am so tired. “I’m not a machine you know. “I was just about to get my supper”. Thankfully as those last words left my mouth my brain said something different to me. “You fool. “What’s the point of everything you are doing if you don’t even play with your son when he wants you to. “You haven’t had any fun together all day!”. And with that I started carrying on with him, wrestling for control of the poo, and we played together for the next half hour. Leaving us both satisfied.
My point is. Being better isn’t all about me, me, me. Nor should it be for anyone else trying to improve themselves. It’s about taking the time for others when they need you, especially the ones you love, even if it is inconvenient at the time. The world doesn’t revolve around you and your schedules. It just revolves.
Yes, we are all inherently selfish. But we can set that selfishness aside. In fact I think we must set that aside if we want to grow. Step out of your own thoughts and consider the needs of others. You might just find that is exactly what you and those reaching out to you need.