You are meant to have an optimal life, one that's happy, successful, abundant and of great contribution. My mission is to help you achieve that.
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone. This is the struggle that one of my readers shared with me this week. She wrote:
I do have another, more spiritually based question: as a Christian, I have surrendered my will to Jesus Christ. He is the one sitting on the throne of my heart and with everything I do I wish to obey Him. Some of the things you proclaimed sounded very 'full of self' to me (egoistic if you want- a word you yourself used during the session;). How about you, are you a Christian? And, how do you explain being born with personal talents, but also with a deep desire for connection and love and helping other people..? How can you combine all this in a loving way (must say, reading what I just wrote, you combine it all very well in what you do today!) hope you have something on this for me, because I find it quite a struggle.
I’m so very excited and grateful about this question, because it brings up an important universal inner challenges. Thank you, Maartje!
I know that among my readers I have people from all religions and quite some others who don’t believe in Divine. So this blog offers me a stimulating challenge: to offer something valuable to all of you. Exciting!
Instead of giving a religious answers I’ll attempt to give a philosophical one. Do you remember Hegel and his Dialectic? He offered us the following:
Today we’ll use this art of investigating and investigating truths.
I had the blessing of being raised in a Hegelian way. I was brought up in a syncretic environment, in an amalgamation of different religions, cultures, and schools of thought. At school I received a strong Catholic education and at home I got a compelling Aztec component. I can tell you that both views of the world are not totally compatible. To combine these two seemingly irreconcilable view points allowed me to open myself to reconcile more contradictions to come.
The underlying contradiction behind this question is selflessness and selfishness.
What if we applied Dialectic thinking to this apparent contradiction? What if we could syntheses these two opposites?
Guess what! It is already done. This is called the Golden Rule or Law of Reciprocity or Jesus’ most important commandment. Possibly the earliest affirmation of reciprocity comes from Ancient Egypt around 2000 BC. It has also appeared in Maoism, Taoism, Confucianism, the Sanskrit tradition, the Tamil tradition and the list goes one. This rule is stated in different ways,
This allows us to see that selflessness and selfishness are in fact not as far apart as we think they are. They are two sides of the same coin. They are in fact a mirror of each other. They both express part of you and part of your neighbor. To be able to love oneself, selfishness, is the basis of compassionate service, selflessness. No wonder that doing good for others feels great and taking care of ourselves too.
Imbalance is what we need to avoid. Being completely selfish leaves you unfulfilled, with an empty heart. Being completely selfless leaves you drained. You end up without energy, money or time. No extreme is good.
We tend to end in the extremes because the bright side of selflessness and the shadow side of selfishness are overemphasized. Let’s revisit the neglected sides.
When we overemphasize selflessness we become the “good girl”, the “good boy”. We comply. We accommodate. We become everything to everyone except ourselves. Why do we do that? For very selfish reasons. We want to belong. We want to be loved. We want to be seen and judged as a good person. There is no selfless act without a selfish component.
Moreover when we emphasize selflessness, we lose our inner compass. We don’t know what we want. We don’t know where to go. We forget who we are. I remember how I felt the first time I went to the supermarket after a long intimate relationship where I overemphasized selflessness. I didn’t know what I like to eat. I always bought for him.
This is something that tends to happen to you, because it did help you in the past. Being accommodating and flexible allows you to grow everywhere: in academia, in the corporate world and in the private arena. It gave you academic achievements, promotions and relationships. However, now it’s giving you a long confusing and contradictory to-do list. It’s giving you overwhelm and stress.
Selfishness is to think for oneself. Isn’t that free will? Isn’t that the ability to act in our own discretion? Isn’t that one of our Divine gifts? What is wrong is using it?
Selfishness is self-care and self-appreciation. This is plainly sensible. Feeling loved and cherished, especially if that comes from the inside, will allow you to give more to others.
Selfishness is charitable. Think about what the world would be if Beethoven would have thought that creating music was not a good idea because that was selfish. Imagine if Van Gogh would have thought that painting was not a good idea because that was selfish. Imagine the world without the research of Leonardo Da Vinci, or the Sixteen Chapel. Following your bliss always leads to your greatest contribution.
To have a great contribution to the word we need to embody the Golden Rule. We need to love the others as much as we love ourselves. We need to be as kind to ourselves as we are to others, while be as kind to others as we are to ourselves. This will result into a life that is both fulfilling and sustainable.
The answer is love. When you are confronted to practical choices that contradict your selfishness and your selflessness, ask yourself:
Think for example that you are invited to a networking event.
Try this for when you are offered a new job, an assignment overseas, or to go out for dinner. Try this when you are about to decide to open your business, have a child or write your next book.
Don’t think if you are being selfish or selfless. The solution to this conundrum is love. Ask: What would love say? Listen, trust and act.
I would love to hear your wisdom.
How are you going to apply this today? Inspire us!
Please, share your wisdom directly in the comments below. Let's start a wave of vibrancy, excitement, enthusiasm for life. Let's live fully!
Add as much detail as possible in your reply. Remember, your voice may be of great help to someone else. Your voice might be the one thing that will finally touch the heart of that one person. Please do share your wisdom.
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Make your week wonderful!
Blanca Vergara MBA, soul entrepreneur, author, speaker and mom, has an uncanny vision for identifying passion and purpose. She has the charm to enthuse and the muscle to move you into action. Blanca delivers post modern, high-impact, transformational solutions for the builders of the Upcoming Heart Centred Economy to authentically renew the world.