“SELFISH” VS. “SELFLESS” (in women)
This is Part 5 in a series of articles about the “Self.”
We’re talking about the self here.
(This is one in a continuing series of articles about the Self. If you would like to read more on the Self, please see the links to other posts below).
We introduce the concepts of Selfish and selfless.
They are not the same thing, (almost) needless to say.
We have to figure out who we are and what we want in life.
A person has to spend time on his or her SELF.
We can’t spend ALL of our time on ourselves.
We have to take others into our consideration, into our purview of what belongs to our selves.
Of course, that’s right.
What happens when we seem to be spending all or most of our time and efforts on others?
SELFLESS vs SELFISH
If we’re not being selfish, but selfless?
This can be a problem with ignorant people who think that you are selfish if you spend ANY time on yourself–especially when you have responsibility for others.
THE SELF AND WOMEN
Women, after they are married, are often known as wives, mothers, homemakers (if they are doing that) and providers.
Often, they become selfless.
Not that they abandon their “selves” but much of the time they are caring for others and being selfless.
Selfhood is gradually weaned away form them.
They often get the sense that they have lost them-Selves in this work.
They feel the world looks at them in only those roles in which they serve others.
This gets to become more acute when women pass a certain age, when, aside from the roles I’ve mentioned, women feel they are non-persons in any other sense.
Society comes to think of them only in these serving roles.
- Men no longer look at them as attractive.
- Scratch that: they no longer look at them at all.
- Not worth a swiveled head of admiration.
- Or seen as anything except in those other roles.
- Which is to say, often, as nothing at all.
- A man too, although it is not recognized or discussed much, can be considered (or at least consider himself) to be a husband, worker, and father.
- And not much else.
Gone are other kinds of self-identifiers for many people.
Gone is any realization that we all serve each other, that service is a high calling.
That rising children may be the highest calling
IT’S AN INFANTILE AND REGRESSIVE NOTION OF SELFHOOD
Part of what used to be considered part of the self, seems to have disappeared.
Thinking about your self in this way, thinking, as a woman, that there is something missing in both your and other people’s evaluation of you, is not wrong.
People are wrong for thinking of women this way.
But it is discouraging.
THINKING OF YOURSELF AS A PERSON WHO HAS NEEDS AND WANTS IS NOT ONLY RIGHT, BUT NECESSARY
It is being self-ish only in the sense that what we are doing is related to the self.
It is selfless.
If we don’t figure this out (and maybe beating ourselves up about it or denigrating ourselves–again, chiefly women– and come to terms with it, we won’t have a grown-up self.
First, we need to care for ourselves better and then we need to disregard what other people think of us with regard to our selves.
We need to be grown-ups.
And heaven knows in this world, we need to be grown-ups.
Tell your significant other she is beautiful.
(Tell him too if it applies!)
We’re talking a a lot about the self here, especially with respect to self-knowledge.
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Up next: Part 6: Selfishness. Always wrong?