How can selfishness help you become more selfless this year?

We’re in it.  The new year is here.

This is the year of letting go of what does not serve YOU.  I’m not talking about being selfish.  There is an ancient Buddhist expression that a monk imparted to his student that has stuck with me ever since I heard it: “Be selfishly selfless.”

I’ve had countless conversations with clergy, spiritualists, devout religious folk and atheists about what it means to be selfish. I’ve found that often times people are quick to define the opposite of selfishness as altruism. But time and time again, this old adage seems to descend its way into my mind.  Few have been able to prove a clear understanding, but the only way I’ve found it’s interpretation to be a non-denominational homerun is this: You can’t help anyone else, if you are not at your best. So this yearh, I commit to remembering the things that make me tick. I challenge you to do the same.  I’m reminded of another quote,

“The belief that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish is misguided. It’s more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted, yet everyone takes the happy person for granted. No one is careful of his feelings or tries to keep his spirits high. He seems self-sufficient; he becomes a cushion for others. And because happiness seems unforced, that person usually gets no credit.”
― Gretchen Rubin

It’s an idea that definitely resonates, because most of my life I’ve been a negatively skewed optimist.  Sounds weird right?  I hate to use the word realist, because, in truth, one’s definition of reality is based purely on perspective. It’s an everlasting compilation of trial and error – both yours and others – until you have created an subconscious set of statistics in your mind.  So, when I starting choosing to be happy and approach problems with more of a “this-is-a-temporary-obstacle” approach, something magical started happening and suddenly my life’s dreams started coming true.  It caused me to re-evaluate the direction I had been running, and what I was spending my time doing – who I was spending it with.  My old reality became a fascinating mirror that allowed me to see what I needed to change to start living a more fulfilling life.  But living with integrity is key.  Being honest with others first, helped me create the habit of being honest with myself and taking responsibility for the unwanted results I was experiencing.  So, my challenge to you, is to look at the world around you like a mirror.  Who do you see?  What things do you love?  What do you despise?  Take the answers and make a change within yourself.  How can you be a better example?

world mirror 1

What activities fire you up? What is your passion? Do it. Forget about the money, but be “selfish” in your perseverance to accomplish what you set out to do.  Start your work with unrelenting fervor and do not let the your criticism or workload of others spoil your appetite for creativity. Rumi said, “Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.”

Now is the time. The Universe is pushing you toward those things that you’ve forgotten are more important than anything else.  We are here on this planet, not to slave laboriously for the master plan of any other creature, but to leave our mark with glorious selflessness in a way that will help humankind.

Strip your needs down to what will provide the tools and environment for a fulfilling life.  How can you get this and spend your hours giving back to our species and more importantly, to the planet? Working for money alone, just to keep your head above water, pay for bills, gadgets, and accessories will keep you enslaved to a system that is designed to quell breakthrough creative thinking.

Draw a line in the sand. Based on what you need to live fulfilled, decide what you are worth and do not stop until you get it. Do not let anyone ask you for things without proper recompense, unless everything in your heart and mind tells you it is the right thing to do.  Make sure it is in ink before you start anything with anyone.

Set intentions. Know where you are going, but forget about how you will arrive. Ride this rollercoaster, knowing that you’re strapped in and nothing but greatness awaits you. Be selfish in your preservation of your own happiness, but be honest with yourself about what you really need.  Keep it simple and be selfless in your desire to make the world a better place.  Remember, an incomplete you cannot help anyone or anything in a complete way. Imagine the difference you will make when you are a wholly fulfilled person. Believe it and achieve it, with or without the help of others, but the most important thing is that you BEGIN NOW.