Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Self-ish

I used to want to be brave, to be a hero, to change the world.  I don't know when that changed.  I think it was a slow process, a disillusionment with the world around me, a part of growing up.  I mean it doesn't have to be a part of growing up, I know plenty of adults much adultier than I that still want to be a hero, to change the world, but that's not me anymore.

That isn't to say that I don't want to make the world a better place, because I really do, I've just seen that you can't do it on your own, you can't be a one woman hero that changes everything and makes it better like some magical storybook.  In the real world you don't get clean cut endings that tie everything in a bow, in the real world there are some things that can't be fixed or saved.

So I find myself at an impasse.  When I was in college one of my favorite professors asked the class if we were optimists or pessimists, I'm not either.  I don't see the world as a half full or half empty glass, I see it as water in a glass.  I'm a realist.  I've accepted that I may not be able to accomplish something great or something huge that changes the world, but I can do small things that make me a better person and through that make the world around me a little better.

I know that small changes won't change every one or fix everything, hell they might not even fix anything, but just because I don't want to be the hero anymore doesn't mean I don't want to be something.  I'm not saying that my small acts will create an Elysian paradise in the world, but I'm not above trying to create one for myself.

That sounds selfish, it is selfish.  Growing up has made me a much more selfish person, but I think there's a difference between selfish (lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure) and what I call Self-ish (the capitol S is important).

Self-ish is an internal focus on your Self, on what makes you inherently you.  There's nothing wrong with wanting to make yourself happy, you don't have to put your own happiness beneath other people's because in the long run you're hurting yourself.  You don't have to be a martyr be a good person, you don't have to be selfless to make other people happy.

I am Self-ish.  I believe that my own happiness is just as important as other peoples, but not more important.  Given the choice half the time I will put other people's happiness before mine, but I try to avoid it when that makes me unhappy or sad.  I want my friends to be happy, but in recent years I've realized that I want to be just as happy myself. 

So this is a call to action.  I want you to be Self-ish today.  I want you to spend time doing something that makes your soul happy even if it doesn't benefit another person.  When you're making a choice between your own happiness and someone else's I want you to seriously consider whether or not making them happy will take away from your Self. Try it, just for a day and see how it feels, maybe you'll love it, maybe you'll hate it but you can't know until you try. 

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