By selfish, I don't mean that you manipulate or intimidate other people into doing your bidding...That is egotistical. Selfishness means giving yourself permission to do exactly as you darn please, and respecting everyone else's right todo the same. That way, when you come together, you will know it is because you want to and this knowledge alone will substantially magnify the pleasure derived from every encounter.
Our world would be a much better place if more people were selfish. Unfortunately, too few of us are selfish and too many of us are egotistical, which, in my view, accounts for a good portion of the mess our human relations are in.
Of course, an argument can be made that one cannot always do as one pleases, because there are the needs of the family to consider, and you certainly cannot tell the boss where to go when you feel like it, and what about when you want to yell fire in a crowded theater, etc...etc...etc.
Within every enrionment, no matter how difficult, there is room for the expression of free will. No one suggests that there will be no consequences. However, supressing your nature also has consequences, sometimes more far-reaching and unpleasant.
If you feel that in your present circumstances spontaneity is out of the question, at least consider what would have been the selfish thing to do and see if you can figure out what prevented you from taking the risk. Then forgive yourself. There is always tomorrow. Start small, and every success will open new and more frequent opportunities to express your free will.
Most of us are too concerned about hurting other people's feelings or encroaching upon their rights. We have no power over anyone but ourselves. Other people have a choice in the way they react to us. The important thing to remember is that, if they are in our physical presence, they have agreed to the experience, so by being spontaneous (selfish), we are serving everyone involved in the best possible way.
Perhaps selfishness will be easier to swallow if we understand that everything we receive is brought about by our Source. Although it may appear that your grandma has decided to give you the pearls you admired, in actuality, she is allowing herself to be the willing instrument of your Source.
In that context, you must never refuse anything good offered you. To do so would be like spitting in God's face. Accept all gifts and favors in the full knowledge that they come from your Source and that the people who appear to be the givers will be amply rewarded for their part in the process, in a manner best suited to them.
Selfishness has become such a repugnant word because it has so often been used as a weapon by people who want something against those they want it from so we go to greated lengths to avoid have it pinned on us.
"Selfish" was an endearment originally coined for me by my parents. Because it would have been more painful to admit that my parents lied, I chose to accept their assessment of my character as Truth.
Since being selfish was less than a desirable way to be, I attempted to prove to myself that I had outgrown it by conscientiously performing acts of generosity and compassion toward everyone, everywhere, all the time. I was always the one to carry the heaviest bundle, go along with everyone else's wishes and never refused anyone a service. Despite all my efforts, however, I was unable to shed my selfish reputation.
After a while, all that goodness, generosity and compassion left me emotionally depleted, physically exhausted and financially flat. I knew that I could no longer go on as before, but what to do? I had done everything in my power not to be shelfish, yet I was still plagued with that tag.
Eventually I thought: "What if I did not fight the fact that I am selfish and just learned to live with it? After all, nobody is perfect. So what if shelfishness is one of my flaws? I still have as much right to be on this earth as everybody else." That's when I made a pact with myself to stop compensating for my imperfections and just behave in whatever manner felt natural to me without apology or shame.
For several months, I indulged only myself and refused all requests for my services. I only participated in activities I considered fun, and if I did not enjoy myself, I would leave. I only gave away things I no longer needed or wanted, and avoided giving presents on official gift-giving days. I also steeled myself to resist justifying my decisions to anyone about anything I did or chose not to do. In short, I flaunted my shortcomings and behaved like, what some might consider, a total bitch.
Then something happened, which I refer to as "The paradox of life." Instead of the rejection and criticism I had expected, I was, all of a sudden, complimented left and right on my loving nature and generosity of spirit. Wow! What happened? There actually is an explanation and I am about to try my hand at it.
Because we are all subliminally connected, when I was vulnerable to the selfish label, people were able to sense it, whether consciously or not, and could not resist taking advtange of it. If you want to control someone, never give them what they seek. You will get a lot of mileage from their efforts to elicit that very thing from you.
Do not mistake that statement as having my stamp of approval. I do not condone such tactics. I am merely pointing out the current propensities of human interaction.
Once I determined to live with myself without seeking anyone's approval, the psychological ring that had previously been dangling from my nose was no longer available for anyone to pull on. Humans are very intelligent creatures. They never waste their efforts on something that does not have at least a fifty percent chance of working out in their favor.
When we are being good and kind and give of ourselves (sacrifice) to others, whether we are aware of it or not, we project our expectations of recognition, apreciation and reciprocation. Although we think we are giving something, we are, in fact, investing in hope of a return. Because we are inter-connected, our message is picked up by the individual on the receiving end of our gift or favor, and he/she feels an obligation to repay us in kind.
Have you noticed that as soon as you give someone a gift, you receive a slightly more valuable gift back, at the very first half-legitimate opportunity? That is not just civilized behavior. It is a way of insuring that you cannot call in the debt at your discretion and in the coin of your choice.
When we are being selfish, we do things for the pure pleasure they bring us. Since there is no sacrifice involved, there are no subliminal messages that anybody owes anybody anything. Although people may not be aware of the difference between giving and investing, they will sense that being around you is more pleasant and relaxing than being around the other people they know.
True giving feel like "Just doing what is right" so we don't consider it "giving."
That was a long-winded explanation of the following law governing our system: Whatever we are "against" creates more of what we are against. Whatever we are "for" creates more of what we are for. In other words, our focus is replicated.
As long as I was trying NOT to be seen as selfish, I kept perpetuating what I feared: Being called selfish. When I became FOR being selfish/self-loving, the whole World reflected my self-love back to me.
The above article is an excerpt from "A Heaven On Earth" - a book on human alchemy by Jenka - First four chapters of the book can be read on line free of charge.