Selfish or Selfless?

I love the site dictionary.com. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to use a word or used a word and then worried in retrospect that I’d used it incorrectly (so far I’m 100% thank goodness) and gone to that site to double check. But sometimes even when you know the meaning of a word or words it’s good to look them up to get a more specific definition than the one you hold in your head which can be more broad, or generic in nature.

That is what I did today when thinking about the words Selfish and Selfless.

Here is what the wisdom of the dictionary told me:

Selfish

  • devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others
  • characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself

Selfless

  • having little or no concern for oneself, especially with regard to fame, position, money, etc.; unselfish

I have always contended that when I walk around daily complimenting, smiling, hugging and otherwise uplifting those around me it is one of the most selfish acts I perform. I say that because the joy I get from their pleasure seems tenfold what they received.

Another thing I love is quotes from other people. I have used them a great deal in my writings for the Marine Corps and college. Before beginning this post I went in search of quotes that suggested others also held my belief that there is no truly selfless act. I admittedly didn’t look long, but I was unable to find anything. I found many that preached selflessness, kindness and giving of ourselves, but no one spoke to the joy of giving as its own reward in the way that I think of it.

As a coach I try so hard every day to walk the talk and to maintain a positive outlook as well as avoid negative talk. However, the thing I find that seems to push my buttons every time are the people and companies willing to risk what I hope is a special place in hell in order to market to or otherwise take from everyday people who simply don’t have it to give. But the very worst is when they do it under the guise of “helping”. When you make it seem as if you are going out of your way and taking food off your own table in order to make a sale I just wonder if a little part of your humanity dies as the paycheck hits your account.

It is the way of the world that I can’t do what I do on this site for free. But since my daily interactions with people are something I not only love but physically crave, why not take that opportunity to build my own soul enhancing stores doing what comes naturally.

I once met someone near the holiday season who was congratulating himself on his 30 days of kindness challenge and how his children were picking up the habit. My first thought was “what do you do the rest of the year?” and my second wish was that the children in the infinitely wise way children have would expand the concept to make it year long.

If you have never had the genuine experience of “making someone’s day” I challenge you to do it. Start small if you need to by simply smiling at a stranger. Later when it feels more natural compliment someone randomly. It can be on literally anything from clothing, to their smile or the customer service they provided. I can not tell you how many times I’ve been told how the simple act of those few words were “exactly what I needed”.

Right now I’m giving you permission to go out and be selfish in the most beautiful and fulfilling way possible. It costs nothing at all and the payback is more than you can imagine.

 

 

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