The Insanity of Unselfishness

The Insanity of Unselfishness

“Reality is merely an illusion,
albeit a very persistent one,”
– Albert Einstein.

What do you think about all day long? How often to you take note of your thoughts?

Yesterday I did notice my thoughts and I realized I was spending far too much time thinking and worrying about other people. At the end of the day it occurred to me that if I’d spent less time thinking about other people and more time thinking about myself I would have had a happier day.

But doesn’t thinking about yourself make you selfish? I used to believe it did and some of the dust of that belief still clings to me, much as I’ve tried to brush it off, but no, it’s not selfishness to think of yourself. It’s sanity.

Why? Here are three reasons:

1… We can’t solve other peoples problems, can’t “fix” the issues we may believe are the source of their unhappiness. When has anybody ever been “helped” by anyone but themselves?

2… Unselfishness precludes self-care. When we’re busy taking care of other people’s needs there often isn’t any time left to take care of our own needs. Then we need others to care for us (somebody has to), which sets up expectations based on assumptions of reciprocity. It gets complicated.

3… I like to think of life as a holographic dream. You and I are dreaming. Everything we see is part of the dream though it looks suspiciously like the life we’ve come to know. We’re each dreaming our own dreams. I see you in my dream and you see me in yours because we wanted it that way. So, if we each have our own dreams, why would I presume to reach into your dream to help you in your life? That’s not even possible. The most I can do is to try to help you in my dream, my only point of power, which would have absolutely no effect in your dream. Insanity.

Or course we care about others and we offer them the best we have to give; our presence, our compassion and a listening ear, but we don’t carry them and we don’t hurt when they’re unhappy.

How do we avoid the insanity of unselfishness? We recognize that the things that bother or upset us are clues as to what’s happening inside us. We resolve our own issues rather than dwelling on the issues of other people.

We’re lying here, safe, together (yes, we are all in this together), dreaming dreams that seem to last a lifetime. Won’t we have a lot to talk about when we wake up!

Why wait? Let’s start the conversation now.

Photo Credit: Antoine K

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About The Author


I am passionate about writing and community building. I’ve written a book about healing and happiness, The Happy Place, as well as a Community Building book, Sounding the Drum: Community Building in the Digital Age, now available at any Amazon store. I’ve been through life changes that I thought were the end of my world, but I’m still here. I never know what will happen next. Isn’t that what makes life interesting?