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All human acts are for the self. There should be no shame in that...
Selfishness is considered undesirable only by others, because focus on you takes attention and importance away from them. The only complaint of how selfish you might be comes from another person, never yourself.
You believe selfishness is a negative, bad trait, only because you have been told and taught that it is – from early childhood on. Selfishness is perceived as detrimental (unconsciously) to and by the observing individual or group, never the self.
Another's selfishness "takes away focus" from you. This taking away is naturally perceived, by nature, as a threat, at various intensities, to your "self."
Let's imagine you get together with a friend who talks about herself/himself for an hour. You become uncomfortable. But, why should you feel uncomfortable, transparent, as if you don't exist, as if you don't matter, as if what you think were not important.
Think about those reactions – are they not all about you? You feel insecure, ultimately threatened at some level or to some degree. So, who is being “selfish” – them or you?
Now, if you were to talk about yourself non-stop for some time, if you had positive center stage with a friend or co-worker, center stage from a small, select group, an audience of one thousand, or the attention of the world, you would not feel selfish, and certainly not threatened.
Our misconception of a person's selflessness is necessary, so that we have another layer or confirmation from outside ourselves that the individual or group of people is not harmful, not a threat to our "self." Their acts, small or grand, tell us they mean us no harm. We perceive them as doing good for others. Hence, they are not threatening to our emotional stability.
What philanthropists gain is our admiration, our acceptance. Our small or grand admiration, our approval and attention brings focus to the philanthropist. We tell them how extraordinary they are.
Think of performers, artists, writers and local or world leaders – indeed, any human being. They all strive for center stage. There is no selflessness in any of us or our actions or behavior. The grander their acts are, the grander our bestowment of acceptance and acknowledgement of their value and self worth – their emotional security.
Think of the friction, anger, indeed violence which could disappear, around the world, if we were not threatened by selfishness, individually or as a clan, group, organization or society.
If humans could teach and learn to exchange selfishness in a balanced manner, each person giving of themselves, allowing others to give of themselves – this is our elusive prescription for partnership – individual inner and world peace would, over time, become realistic.
Selfishness is good, not evil and should not be feared.
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