Friday, April 5, 2013

We Need More Selfishness

In the midst of fulfilling client requests, answering phone calls, filling out an inordinate number of forms and the like, I had a blog rattling around in my head today that was prompted by British PM Cameron’s warning yesterday that North Korean nukes were about to start raining down on the UK.

The fact that North Korea may not even have a functional, deliverable nuclear device and definitely doesn’t have a means of delivering it that far doesn’t seem to matter to politicians who use fear to either control / coerce people or to encourage them to randomly consume more (both of which serve the needs of politicians who aren’t “getting it done” when it comes to solving the problems they’ve been elected to figure out). 

While I recognize that the nutbar in power in North Korea is taking the world to the edge of disaster if we are not careful, such words from the PM bring to mind the notion of “surely not the old WMD thing again”.

And in fairness, I believe that many problems in the world are now too large to solve (at least by humans) and have passed a critical point of no-return but alas, I digress.

Yup …. I was all set to write about this subject when I reconnected with a friend and colleague whom I haven’t seen in 14 years.

This person was a voice of sanity at the client site where she and I met back in the 1990’s.  Whenever the ignorant, the mundane, the greedy, the nasty and the dangerous would rear their ugly head, she was always there to raise people who needed to be lifted or to calm down people who needed to hear a voice of reason.  She was a source of sanity in a world of madness.

She’s still like that but she has endured much in the last couple of years and despite my repeated questions about “what can we do for you”, she indicated that having someone who listened was good enough.

Funny thing. 

She was the one who always listened to us and I wondered at the time how many, when dumping on her, actually stopped and asked if there was anything she needed.

Such heroes are not as uncommon as we think

I met a colleague yesterday who, in the midst of single-handedly raising children with challenges, is committed to making the world a better place for kids with similar challenges.

And while she obviously has needs and aspirations of her own, she places them aside for the sake of her children and for other children and families in similar circumstances.

As I closed the conversation with each of these women, I commended them on everything they had done for others and implored them to do one thing this weekend.

I asked them to do something selfish for themselves.

If we give constantly, eventually we will have given it all away and then we can’t help anybody.

In this beautiful but chaotic world, we are often bombarded with calls to help others more, serve others more and the like.

I believe this request rings true for the majority who are contributing nowhere near what they should commensurate with what they have received from the world.

But there is a certain segment who live to serve every day, constantly carrying people, lifting them up and providing a ray of sunshine where others see stormy skies.

And for those people, I think we need to help them be a little selfish for themselves once in a while.

It goes against their grain and they will fight it because it is not who they are.

But it is something that they have earned.

So do me a favor and look for those people who have made a lifetime out of lifting others and encourage them to be a little more selfish. Maybe you won’t have to look far.  After all, the person you need to encourage to be a little more selfish may be yourself .

Don’t worry – it’s just for a little bit.

They or you can return to a life of incessant giving and service soon enough – the world is never short of people who need or who take.

But a little selfishness isn’t always bad when for the right reason and for the right person.

In fact, I think it’s not only not bad but I think such selfishness is well-deserved and necessary.

What do you think?

In service and servanthood, I dedicate this today to four selfless women, V, K, F and M.  You know who you are.  Be a little selfish this weekend – something really decadent and / or self-indulgent should fit the bill.  You’ve earned it.


No comments:

Post a Comment