Necessary selfishness

I’ve come to a realization during the course of this evening: I am in a necessarily selfish phase of my life. I’m ok with that. And here’s why:

I’m starting to understand that in order to participate meaningfully in the world around me, I must first have a sense of who I am. Right now, my sense of who I am is vague at best.

For a while, I’ve been on a mission to find out who I am; to work out what I want; to learn to be comfortable with the person I am. If it sounds difficult, the reality is much more so.

And yet, I realize it is crucial that I carry on. Firstly, I must carry on for my own sake – I wish to live a fulfilled life of meaning on my own terms. And secondly, I must carry on for the sake of the people in my life – if I am to enrich their livesĀ using my life experience (as I’m sure they would enrich my lifeĀ using theirs), then I must first understand myself, the one who has had, and been formed by, that experience.

Right now, I’m in the thick of the selfish phase. And I don’t mean selfish in a negative sense. I’m not advocating self-serving behaviour that hurts other people. By selfish, I mean inward-focused.

At any given time, my attention is divided between myself (inward-focused) and those around me (outward-focused). When I say this is a selfish phase of my life, I mean that the inward-focused portion of my attention is larger than the outward-focused portion. And I’m happy with that at this point.

I can see that the selfish phase is temporary. There will come a time when I have a sufficiently strong sense of self that I can move my focus outward without fear of neglecting myself. I look forward to that day.

But for now, I’m focusing on me.

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