The self is such an interesting topic to me because of the various ways in which different people perceive it.
It is also the root word for two completely contradicting words; selfishnessand selflessness.
I was speaking with some co-workers yesterday and as usual our conversation leaned more towards serious topics that we had heard or seen on the news. Although it started with the severity of conditions in our country, it led to a much more productive conversation about what we could actually DO about these conditions. It came to a unanimous agreement that the importance was not in trying to conquer all the problems of the world at once, but instead starting with your own backyard. If everybody took care of their neighbors, there should be absolutely no way that any child could go hungry or overlooked. Now, there should be no debate, as there is with the topics of homeless people and the unemployed collecting social security, that children should not fall victim to our shortcomings. They have done nothing wrong, do not know better, and deserve to be protected.
To be selfish is one of the most widely accepted wrong-doings in today’s society. Maybe this is because those that are selfish know there are always others that are willing to help, or maybe it is because they truly do not care for other’s well-being. I do understand that some cannot identify with those that need help, or do not personally know them so they ignorantly go about their day pretending like all is good in the world because they are happy.
But if we were all selfless, and worried about the needs of others before our own, imagine the change we could inflict on the world, starting in our own hometowns. Imagine a community that functions together, that shows love to those that need it most without asking for the glory or anything in return. This would be a never-ending chain reaction that would circle back onto itself, because those that were treated well would set out to treat others well. What if the situation was turned around and it was you and your children in need? Wouldn’t you be ever grateful for a positive response and selfless help from somebody else?
These thoughts came to me when my car was almost crushed today on the way to work by a construction truck that was not paying attention. It’s kind of funny how in those moments, after your heart stops pounding and you’ve avoided something tragic, that you start thinking about your life and what you would have left behind if you died within them. And as that brought much self reflection, I realized at the top of my list would be that I had made a difference and lived for others and not myself. Living for yourself can only bring so much happiness. You can be completely fulfilled and it will always stop right there. It will die with you. Yet living for others is a completely different story because what you give to them multiplies out through a ripple affect. Spreading your love and selflessness has the potential to live past your mortal body and forever change the life of another person.
Now, I am NOT a overly-optimistic dreamer. I know that there is not going to be some huge resurgence of change that will happen within our country anytime soon in which everybody’s eyes are all the sudden opened to their selfishness and the havoc it is wreaking upon our communities. In reality, at the rate we are going, things will only get worse.
But I AM a fighter, and I for one am inspired by those that have selfless hearts. And I am willing to fight the seemingly imminent moral catastrophe that we draw nearer to everyday until the very end.
Because if everybody made that difference in their hometown, if everybody did their part and took care of what they could, what else would there be to take care of?