Selfishness is the new Black

July 15th, 2008

This post really isn’t for anyone in particular. I just need to get something off of my chest. First of all, in my immediate life, things are pretty good. I feel blessed beyond measure to have the love of my husband and son. Besides bumps in the road, we are very fortunate and our lives are fruitful. Sure, I could be slimmer. We could have more in our savings account. We could take more family vacations. Gas prices going back under a dollar would really make my day. Other than that….we are blessed.

There is something about me that makes folks want to talk to me. I have had complete strangers tell me about their health problems. I have had people tell me about their multiple credit card debt. I have had them tell me what they really think about their spouse, etc. Most of this, I never see coming. Maybe they get a vibe from me that says: “Sure, you can tell me about your constipation problems. I care about you and you can share anything with me.” Funny thing is, they DO tell me. To the point where I wonder to myself: “Why did I need to know that? What on earth made them tell me that?”

For whatever reason, people share things with me. Sometimes, the things that they share with me are intimate and extremely private. I wonder if it is my faith that makes them tell me things. Maybe these people know that I can be honest with them and that I know that God has a plan for everything. I might not (ok, I usually don’t) know the road that the plan is following, but I know there is a route and a destination.

Over the last few months, I have heard/seen pain from so many people. So many of the folks that I know are drowning from the selfishness of others. Family members that make promises and don’t keep them. Spouses who would rather spend time with an opposite-sex friend then with their spouse. People caring for ill/elderly relatives that cry out for extended family to help – only to be told NO. People lying to one another and seeing the emotional damage, but continuing to hurt further. I feel so badly for all of these people. I can only listen to their pain and pray that things will get better. My heart hurts for these people. I get so frustrated for them. I get so angry.

I so wish that I could pull the selfish aside and give them a stern talking to. I would say something like: “What are you thinking???? Don’t you see what you are doing to those that love you? When you say you are going to help someone or spend time with them, DO IT! When you owe someone money, a favor, or your attention, step up and do it. Don’t you know that by giving to others, you are making a better person inside of yourself? Knock it off!”

Not that these people will listen to me. Not that they listen to those that they are hurting either. I think selfishness is becoming fashionable in our world. I am seeing more and more people wear it. Personally, I think it is an ugly fashion trend. I would rather wear: loving, supportive, attentive, and kind. They are more my style.

9 Responses to “Selfishness is the new Black”

  1. BayAreaDM Says:

    Have you ever thought about becoming a pastor?

  2. Shan Says:

    LOL…no way. I have enough on my plate as it is. My father-in-law was a pastor for many years. After hearing about how he was NEVER home due to being called away from various congregation members, I don’t think I could handle that. Not only that, I worry too much and doubt myself and the path that I am taking. I think that a strong pastor has to KNOW that worrying and doubt isn’t what faith is about. That is what faith is – giving problems up to a higher power (not to say that you should just “sit there” and do nothing though). My worrying about people and situations shows that I have a long way to go. My faith is strong, but it is still fragile. I consider myself a kindergartener in the faith department. Pass the graham crackers and milk. I need a nap soon! 🙂

  3. jjabl Says:

    I think what you are seeing is the ‘me’ generation and their kids. It is all about ‘what is in it for me’.
    Yes, you are fortunate that your husband and son love you, but they are just reciprocating what they get from you. This is like respect. You have to give to get. If you are selfish with your ‘love’ then you don’t get it back. If you love someone else, they have the choice to reciprocate or not. If you are selfish with someone else, they also have a choice as to how to act towards you.
    Yes, I could be slimmer, I would like more family vacations, more money in the bank and gas under a dollar would help put it there. LOL

  4. BayAreaDM Says:

    So, jjabl, are you saying that parents were selfish with their love, and that is why they turned out so selfish?

  5. jjabl Says:

    Not at all. I am saying the way the parents taught the kids by their behavior(mainly)is to think of ‘what do I get out of this for me personally’ versus ‘what can I do that will benefit someone else’. IE selfless love, unconditional love, love that is not just about ‘ME’ and ‘what I get from it’.
    Yes, some parents may be selfish with their love. ‘If you don’t behave or do such and such, then I won’t love you.’ It does happen. I think that is the extreme, or least, I would like to think it is extreme.
    Unless people think of others and care for others, then they lead a very selfish life and a probably a very miserable life from what I have seen. There is more to life, as Shan shows by her everyday living by being loving, supportive, attentive, and kind. They are her style and she wears them well! Love you, girl!!!

  6. BayAreaDM Says:

    My perspective is maybe we just assume people are more selfish now; in reality, people’s selfishness is just exposed more, through media oversaturation. What exacerbates this is the current epidemic called “victim mentality” running rampant. Shan, my guess is hardly anyone come up to you and say “You know, I really screwed this person over and I want to know what I can do.” That is because everyone wants to blame someone else for their problems. Chances are, if you are a victim of individual selfishness, you put yourself into that situation. Also, no one ever gives the entire side of a story. Why aren’t they helping their elderly relatives? Well, there may be a good reason. This is just one example of course, but you will never hear both sides of the story. That is true in so many aspects of life – people just hear one perspective and then cast judgment. Selfishness is often justified, and that is the reality.

  7. Tig Says:

    I don’t feel it’s an assumption that people are more selfish now because of more media exposure of the problem. I had to quit being an internship mentor because of the change in attitude I saw over 10 years in the interns. In the end, students wanted me to build their self-esteem by telling them how great they were performing when they weren’t even doing the work. They were in health care, definitely a giving profession, and they weren’t willing to take the steps necessary to help the patients. And when I was showing them how, they felt it was too much work and that I demanded too much of them and had too high of expectations. No matter how much I tried to help them see that the patients we were there to care for needed our help and our compassion, in general, the whining tended to increase from the interns over the years. In a hospital ICU, the patients and their families are in a place where they need our help, not our selfishness.

    The effect that I think media may have played is in “babysitting” some of the youth of today so they grew up with attitudes that were disconnected from their families. The values of the parents are not being passed down as they have been in previous generations because there is just less (amicable) discussion going on within a family and less (quality) time being shared in each other’s company, in part because we are all so busy and also plugged into technology instead of each other. We need to tune into each other and listen with open hearts – I think there’s a huge amount of disconnect and people have armor on and feel a need to prove their worth through their selfish behavior because they want to believe so badly that they are worth it.

  8. BayAreaDM Says:

    100% agreement with you on the last paragraph – there’s a definite disconnect between youth and their families, but not entirely because of “technological barriers”. Divorce rates are up, and unmarried pregnancies were way up for a while (now they are going down, thankfully). The nuclear family is rarer than ever. All of these factors contribute to changing attitudes in today’s youth. I don’t think there are easy solutions.

  9. Tig Says:

    I agree with your additions too – and I’m very thankful for this blog entry because it gives me hope. It’s nice to see people coming together in a thoughtful, purposeful manner to think about the choices we are each making and how we can improve the quality of the world we live in and are raising our kids in!

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