Are You Selfish Enough?
Why becoming self-centered is the most generous thing you can do.
Selfishness has a bad rep in our culture. It’s synonymous with being egocentric, with not considering other people’s interests.
Let’s take that apart, and then put it back together again.
Egocentrism is a developmental stage where the ego does not have the capacity yet to take other people’s perspectives. Children usually grow out of it by the age of four or five. When thinking of selfishness, we usually mean something similar: a lack of consideration for other people.
I would call that a shallow way of being selfish. The opposite of shallow selfishness is altruism, where you care for others at your own detriment. Neither of these seem like a good balance of care to me.
So how about adding a third option to selflessness and shallow selfishness? Let’s investigate what deep selfishness looks like.
Have you ever noticed that all your experiences have only one thing in common? Whatever was going on, it always involved you, even when you were being altruistic. So it’s safe to say that some aspect of you is central to your own life. How are we to make sense of that?
Weirdly, we have something to learn from our Solar System here. For a while, people thought that the Earth was the center of the universe, and that everything revolved around it. Then the Renaissance happened, and Copernicus argued that the Earth revolves around the Sun.
The Copernican Revolution was a paradigm shift from a geocentric to a heliocentric model. On a slightly smaller scale, a paradigm shift that you can make individually, is from an egocentric to a self-centric mode of selfishness.
What I’m suggesting, is that you’re a miniature Solar System, and that you have a center that everything in your life revolves around. That center is your own Sun. It’s where your light shines brightest. It’s your essence, the locus of your purpose, and the wellspring of your power. What do you think happens when you consciously start orienting your entire life around that center?
The word ‘orientation’ is derived from orient, which means ‘east’. That’s where the Sun comes up. So navigate your life based on where your Sun is, which is at your own center. Not anybody else’s. Yours.
The more self-centered you become, the more you’re expressing your own uniqueness, freely offering your gifts to the world. That’s why being deeply selfish is the most generous thing you could possibly do. Serving others by serving your own deepest needs.
How? Get to know your self intimately, and hone in on your center. It’s not an easy journey, and it’s a matter of choice. I’m available in case you’d like some help with that.