Selfishness Vs. Self-Awareness


Love. What we think of as selfless behavior in pursuit of love is actually selfish. When we pour more of our attention into a relationship than we give to ourselves, we compromise who we are. For example, when we want to be with someone, we tend to go out of our way to make it happen: we extend niceties, become overly permissive, and tolerate more by accepting less. We justify this behavior by claiming it as selfless – to sacrifice one’s needs for the betterment of the whole. However, if we take a step back, we realize our behavior is to the detriment of self and empowerment of our partner.

Why do we implicitly consent to this behavior? Because we seek in others what we do not give to ourselves. This could be for a number of reasons: for starters, we feel a void or disconnect inside and falsely believe the affection for another can fill that void or help us connect; we may not understand love and therefore do not know how to give ourselves the affection and love we deserve; or perhaps we are so used to receiving less than the love we deserve (through past relationships, parental or family experience) that we allow recurring violations of our personal boundaries to keep the relationship alive. Ultimately, we feel unworthy of healthy love and so we seek approval from others who give but a fraction of what we desire. Over time, if we allow this to continue, we deplete our life’s force long after the relationship is broken and shackle our ability to move forward with a new, healthy relationship.

To regain control of our personal chi, there needs to be recognition as to why we allow ourselves to be danced upon by others. I call this process the “why game.” The purpose of this exercise is not to seek the answer. We all have the answer! And the answer is final; no other questions need to be asked. The trick is to search for the right question and answer it with a question.

For example, “why do I continually get involved in the wrong relationships?”

“Because they feel so right.”

“Okay, why do they feel right?”

“They give me companionship, deep emotional connection, and the opportunity for happiness.”

“Why are these attributes absent in my life?”

“Because I need someone to share my connection with.”

“How do I share with others what I do not have?”

…And so on

You see it’s all about the question. And the question should be “why are you not giving to yourself what you selfishly seek in others?” You have got to figure that one out, and then another one, and another one…these questions aren’t going to stop here!

When playing the ‘why game’ I find that it is helpful to get in touch with your feelings. So often we are in a mode of the thinker, thinker, thinker, talker, talker, talker. It’s a distraction. We let our conscious mind cloud our judgment. Remember, we are feeling thinking creatures, not thinking feeling creatures. So get out of your own way. Search your inner senses and feelings for the right questions.

When we eventually give to ourselves what we need, there is no need to seek it out in others. By separating a ‘need’ from a ‘want’ we can better decipher healthy boundaries in our lives that no self-respecting person would allow to be crossed. For instance, self-awareness would manifest as “I love you but not beyond the point where you don’t love yourself, or me.” This is a healthy space for an individual, but can be misinterpreted as selfishness when it is clearly not! Selfish behavior is when we recognize that something is incongruent yet we pour more of ourselves into it while neglecting the real reason as to why our energy is wasteful. Selfishness would be more like “go ahead and destroy yourself, and me, and I will help you because I can’t handle it!” When we give more to our partner than they give to themselves, or us, an unhealthy balance occurs. In a healthy relationship we match our partner’s energy because our desire for companionship simply becomes a ‘want.’

By moving into this wholesome space, would-be partners who are looking to validate themselves through others are no longer appealing to us. We begin to attract like-minded people who seek a complimentary relationship. It’s a recognition that is distinctly unique for each one of us and arises through self-love. When we recognize what is true for us and real-eyes how to move forward for our own sake, it becomes a joyful alignment – a genuine self-awareness.

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