If you think about it, it’s pretty easy to conclude that selfishness and love don’t really go hand in hand. But more often than not as humans who are selfish by nature, putting the welfare of others before ours is easier said than done.
As the eldest of six children, my parents always taught me to be the one who gives way to my younger siblings. When we were kids and battling over toys I was told, “You’re the eldest, you should learn to share (insert item here) with your brothers and sisters so they will follow your example” many times. While we were growing up, they said the same about the use of the telephone, television and computer. It got so that relinquishing stuff, and sometimes even opportunities, for their benefit became almost second nature. I say almost, because it wasn’t always easy to do. There were instances that I felt I was yielding way too many times than they were – that they were being selfish for not doing the same for me.
I confess that the same thing sometimes happens in my marriage. The book says, “It is a trait we hate in other people but justify in ourselves.” One other glaring fact that the authors point out as well is that we can be generous but selfish at the same time “…if the motive is to gain bragging rights or receive a reward.”
I know it may seem like a shallow example, but this has been a recurring episode in our household: How many times have I accused My Man of being selfish, when during movie night he’d always pick only the movies he wanted, and not the ones I want because they were chick flicks? (Okay, let me just say they aren’t all chick flicks). I get mad only because I don’t get what I selfishly want in the first place.
The book asks me to reflect on the following:
– Do I truly want what’s best for my husband or wife?
– Do I want them to feel loved by me?
– Do they believe I have their best interests in mind?
– Do they see me as looking out for myself first?
“The bottom line is, you either make decisions out of love for others or love for yourself.”
The dare: Whatever you put time, energy and money into will become more important to you. It’s hard to care for something you are not investing in. Along with restraining from negative comments, buy your spouse something that says, “I was thinking of you today.”
This post is linked to Simply Complicated… That’s Just Me…