Be Selfish Wisely – over this past weekend I encountered people who all seemed to have the same issue. If three different people presented me with this, I am sure there are more out there. If you are the kind, giving type of person who is always helping others this can be a good read for you.
The first time I saw this quote it really got my attention. I never had heard anyone tell me to be selfish, and totally didn’t expect the Dalai Lama to. But after thinking about it totally made sense.
The Dalai Lama has made that remark on more than one occasion about the bodhisattvas, the compassionate practitioners of the Buddhist path. They are wisely selfish people, whereas people like ourselves are the foolishly selfish. We think of ourselves and disregard others, and the result is that we always remain unhappy and have a miserable time.
A lot of people have the misconception that being happy is selfish and wrong in a world where there is so much suffering. Some may even feel guilty about having a happy life because their brother, mother or someone else close is unhappy. But that is totally wrong. How can you be of service to others and help them be happy if you, yourself are unhappy?
Focusing on yourself to become happy is being wisely selfish and it is a good thing! You should feel good about it and not guilty at all.
Here is a quote from Gretchen Rubin who spent a whole year trying all sort of things to become a happy person and from her experience wrote The Happiness Project.
“The belief that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish is misguided. It’s more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted, yet everyone takes the happy person for granted. No one is careful of his feelings or tries to keep his spirits high. He seems self-sufficient; he becomes a cushion for others. And because happiness seems unforced, that person usually gets no credit.”
Happy people are more likely to do volunteer work and help others. So I’m not saying you should not care about anybody and do just what you want and be inconsiderate of others. But sometimes we have to protect ourselves. You could give all your money away to homeless people on the streets and it would not make a difference in their lives and then you would not be a good situation.
So for example: You sister/brother is sick and the doctor prescribed a really expensive medicine and she needs to borrow money to buy it. By all means lend it (or if you can give it) to her, but don’t go buy it on your credit card because you don’t have the money either and then be in debt, just say sorry I don’t have it either and go take her soup, give her a massage. That is being wisely selfish. Help others as you can, but don’t make their problems your own. I have observed many people who constantly worry about other people’s problems as if it was their own. That is not healthy. One day a friend called me and was really sad and almost crying because she heard from a co-worker that all men were unfaithful and so that co-worker was being unfaithful too. That made no sense to me! Why would you let your co-workers love life make you miserable? That is her problem, it is her husband that cheats, not yours! And you crying about it certainly will not help her situation. Be selfish wisely. Listen to your co-worker, let her vent, give some advice if you can, but don’t absorb that. Instead be thankful that you have a good relationship, or that you don’t have a relationship at all, so that is not an issue to you.