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  • Writer's pictureEmma Norton


It's the radical unkindness and self-serving attitudes of people driven by the unhealthy aspects of their ego that lead to the devastations of the world. No matter the magnitude, great or small.

I went for it, right off the top. Selfish behaviours come from a place of egoic possession. The more we lose or the laxer we are with our surroundings to appease others but get burned, our selfish tendencies develop. There are two sides to this coin. Things are lost almost by force or giving our energy to the perceived wrong people and experiences, so we grow defensively.

There is the lesson we learn about our belongings from childhood. I was raised as an only child, not having to share for the first few years of my life, and because I have the natural dominance to be like a robust gale-force wind, adults scolded me for my perceived selfishness. As I hit school age, my naturally dominant personality disconnected from understanding sharing because I was, in truth, a leader. That became the definition of selfishness that stuck with me and attributed to the times when I was dominant but hesitant. I suppose a passive, compliant female who doesn't tap into others' emotions too much is preferred.

I remember being told to share and not to be bothered by those who copied me when I was younger. So I softened, and as I grew, I felt insecurities in the positions of power, and at points, I had to 'share' with people I did not value or respect beyond the basal compassion for other humans. In my healing process of being okay with not liking people, more from an energetic perspective and seeing even the possession of me in different scenarios, my desire to detach in those situations turned on my improper use of selfishness. I can see where the imbalance is rooted. My drive, sometimes perceived as an act of selfishness, was, in truth, my intuition telling me to be confident in what I know. Still, moving forward as I explore my dominance as a powerful presence, it's changing my perception of being selfish when I would previously try to counteract that internal knowing by being selfless to the point of ruin. Is this a feminist issue?

In that initial judgment from youth, I became sensitive to the opinions of others, and I was sharing when I didn't want to. In my openhearted tendencies, the inclusion in one regard would lead to a reflection of exclusion in another. It was a continual contradiction of the implication that I was selfish and wrong for desiring anything for myself, particularly as an independent person, only to turn around and be guilted by others or them separating me in some regard. It's wild how you can examine moments in adulthood as reminiscent of childhood but more explicitly playing into your insecurities. Your decision, of course, is in your reactivity.

I recently observed young siblings arguing over what was 'yours' and 'mine.' It caused me to think further about possession of your belongings and your loved ones without implying you are selfish for not being willing to share. It could be viewed as knowing what is right for you, and I don't necessarily think that that is a bad thing, nor did I reprimand it in the children. As best I could, I gave them the opportunity to both have their items and share.

More so, it's in your expression. If you are deliberately not giving something because you are angry about something, and you cannot see the implications outside of your attitude, that would be selfish. However, if you can adequately understand those emotions and not use them as ultimately a manipulation tactic, that is both selfless and an act of self-care. When we walk down the path of separation, selfishness is our first step.

If you are in tune with yourself, you may feel something from another person that makes you unwilling to share and perhaps get in that defensive mode. But it could be protective, and other's perceptions are not your responsibility. That protection over what you believe to be yours is the ego trap we fall into, but it's also what we are taught from a young age. So to not be attached to anyone or anything eliminates selfishness and suffering in the conscious sense. Right? But in truth, it is love, genuine and pure, that is the definitive answer. Selfishness comes from fear. So if you exude love, the natural possession will reveal itself, and that external judgment imposed by others or yours internally will dissipate.

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