Something that I’ve been thinking about all day …
Wow, two in one day.
I’m a WILD WOMAN, I tell you.
But I have a purpose. Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of people talk about loving yourself, knowing yourself, etc etc. I also read something to the effect that the most important thing is how you feel about yourself, or something like that.
Okay, here’s the thing: the more I think about it, the more I disagree. Like, a lot.
Yes, you need to love yourself. Yes, you need to find out who you are and be who you are. Yes, you need to be happy with yourself and not just focus on pleasing others. This philosophy, though, is unbelievably self-centered. Say it with me: DUH. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’ll explain what I mean and why I disagree.
It is important to be happy with yourself and to do what makes you happy, but not to the exclusion of anything and everyone else. If you were going to go off and live in a cave somewhere, that M.O. would be fine and work out great for you. The thing is that we have to live with other people. Even if you technically live alone, you have interaction with other people all day. Fellow students, teachers, coworkers, the lady in the supermarket checkout line, whatever.
Not only do you have to live with other people, you have to live peacefully. You have to be kind, you have to get along to the best of your abilities. This isn’t something that you can just do; having had three different roommates with very different personalities over the last three years, trust me, I KNOW. You can just get along with some people easier than others, true, but living with someone is another thing entirely. If you are so focused on only pleasing yourself, you’re going to have trouble. Sometimes you have to do things you’d rather not for the sake of someone else.
Something else to think about: your every action affects the people around you. If you’re focused on only pleasing yourself and to hell with everybody else, chances are that you’re really hurting someone, and you don’t even know it. If you focus on only pleasing yourself, you won’t even see anyone around you. That’s when you can do some real damage, and the sad part is that you’ll have no idea. That person may start acting differently towards you and you’ll have no clue why; then you won’t do anything about it and will keep on hurting them.
Yet another point: humans are inherently selfish, but we’re supposed to fight that. Now I realize I’m speaking from the perspective of a Christian, and not everyone would agree with me. That’s fine, because everyone has the right to an opinion. As Christians, we are called to be servants. We are called to give of ourselves to help others – and not just sometimes, but all day, every day. What is a servant supposed to be focused on? Certainly not themselves. Think about the days when slavery was an accepted practice. What would selfishness get a slave? Nothing, and in fact it would probably cost them their life.
I’m not sitting here saying I have this down and I always have a servant’s heart, because I know I don’t. Like I said, humans are inherently selfish. But we are called to serve with humility, not please ourselves. And I think that if you try only to please yourself, you won’t. If you’re hurting people and losing friends right and left in the name of pleasing yourself, you’re not going to be happy.
Rather, find out God’s will for your life and strive to do it. Be meek and humble; stand up for yourself and don’t let people treat you badly, but think of others before yourself. If helping someone means denying yourself a little pleasure but doing some good in their life, do it anyway. When you are someone that can be counted on, someone who makes others happy, then you will be happy with yourself. Surrounded by all the love that’s sure to come your way, how could you not be?
The problem is that we focus too much on ourselves. Try forgetting about your problems and listening to someone else for a change. And don’t just sit there being quiet while they talk, really listen! It’s hard to do, but we all can if we try. Show compassion and love people. Remember that there are many, many ways to love someone – it’s so much more than just three little words. You love through your words and your actions, what you do and sometimes what you don’t. Conversely, you can show a lack of love through these same things. Be conscious of how you treat people. You can tell me you love me all you want, but if your actions say otherwise then what do you think I’m going to listen to? What would you listen to? Where words whisper, actions scream. Again, I know I’m not always as good at this as I would wish, so I’m not trying to be hypocritical or tell you that I’ve got it all figured out, because I certainly don’t. This is what I believe, though, and what I try to live out.
Anyway, that’s my take on it, agree or disagree as you will. I’ll welcome any thoughts anyone wants to share. 🙂