Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Selfishness Is Ugly
I listened as a friend shared how she had given up a few things in order to save up money to get a gift for a family member. She was proud of the gift and couldn't wait to give it. She later told me that the gift was received with much less excitement than she had hoped and that the person later mentioned that she had asked for something else and was disappointed that she didn't get it. Sadly, I can remember doing this exact same thing to people as a teenager or in my early 20s. However, when you're in your 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s . . . etc. you should be well past this "Me, me, me," mentality. I think back on selfish moments I had as a young adult and I feel embarrassed. Meanwhile, people twice my age are out there still doing it and not giving it a second thought. Wow. I just don't get that!
Where have we, as humans, gone wrong? So many put so much time and energy into material things and their own selfish nature. Let me state that there are no laws forcing people to give you gifts for any holiday or occasion and there are certainly no laws stating that people are to give you only what you ask for. My heart went out to this friend who had gone without and saved her money to get this gift for someone only to be met with a callous heart and a twisted sense of entitlement. Sadly, the world is full of people like this. The above story probably reminded each of you of at least one person you know who behaves in this manner. We tell our children that they don't get everything they want, yet there are adults who expect to get everything they want. But wait . . . there's more! You go out of your way to try and keep these people happy -- to do whatever it is they want (to feed their selfish nature, so to speak) . . . and they don't see it. Instead, it wasn't EXACTLY what they wanted or exactly the way they wanted it. They are sure to let you know about it or make you feel bad about it. There is nothing like going out of your way to try and keep another person happy -- putting their feelings before your own -- only to have them be hateful to you and treat you badly because even though you went out of your way FOR THEM, you didn't do it the exact way they wanted it done and therefore, you failed. It was a waste of your time; a waste of energy.
Jacob and I often talk about how every person should experience a time in his or her life of being broke. A time when you manage to pay all of your bills and then try to get that remaining little bit of your paycheck to stretch enough to feed your family until the next paycheck comes through. I think most people have experienced such a time in their lives -- I know we have. I am thankful for this time. It is, quite possibly, one of the best things that could have happened to us. "Why is that?" you ask. This brings me back to us putting our selfish nature before other people. Humans are selfish; it's just our nature. Put something shiny in front of us and we drool and start calling it, "My precious!" We want what we want and we don't care who we hurt to get it. Sadly, some people hurt others without even knowing it. They push people away with their selfishness and (here's the funny part) they're too selfish to even notice! (Some don't even realize this blog is about them! LOL)
I was sitting in a waiting room yesterday with my three gremlins waiting for Logan's glasses to be repaired when Logan and Kaitlyn started fighting over a toy. Alex, growing increasingly annoyed with his siblings, said to Logan, "Just give it to her." Logan snapped, "I'm making something and I need it." Alex, after hearing me say this so many times to them, said, "Do you REALLY need it? You need oxygen. You need water. Do you really NEED that toy?" Logan sighed and said, "No," and handed the toy to Kaitlyn. We often get what we need and what we want confused. Logan is an 8-year-old boy, so it's to be expected. Adults who act in this manner are the ones who baffle me. My kids NEED to eat. My kids NEED clothes and shelter and clean water. They don't NEED the latest video game system. They don't NEED a room full of toys. As an adult I don't NEED a brand new car or a giant house. When did we lose sight of the difference between need and want? When did we become so selfish and start putting our own wants before the feelings of others?
Look at the people in your life. When your day comes to walk through life's exit door what will they say about you? I am not perfect. I don't pretend to be perfect. I am, however, trying diligently to teach my children to put others before themselves. I'm trying to teach my children the difference between what they need and what they want. I'm also trying to teach them to be caring, loving, understanding, and helpful. This is what the world needs. It has met its quota of hateful, selfish, critical people.
Let's all go do something nice for some one else today!