Others Are Guilty of Being Selfish

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Some time ago I noticed myself feeling angry when a friend was being selfish.  I took some time to look at that experience and found that while my less-than-peaceful experience appeared to be due to my friend’s behavior, it was actually the result of my own self-image.

In order to find clarity here, let’s first look at the external elements by asking ourselves; at what point do I believe the thought that someone is being selfish?  Several responses may come right away in the form of memories.  Often, these experiences involve some level of expectation on our part that the other person is not meeting.  An example might be when we are expecting someone to do something with or for us and they decline, or when we are engaged in a conversation about something in our life and every comment the other person makes is about them and seemingly not in response to what we’ve just said.

Is any of this sparking memory of past experiences in you?

In every case where I judged the other person guilty of being selfish, I suffered.  And, in every case I found that the person was doing what they needed to do to take care of himself or herself.  I discovered that often their selfish choice was a very self-loving and self-nurturing thing to do.  So, if they were being self-loving and nurturing, what was happening with me that allowed me to interpret those actions in a manner that made them guilty in my eyes?  Now there’s a question that when answered honestly can bring great progress.

The belief that they were being selfish would take me over completely and I couldn’t see the gifts behind it until I paused to look.  The line of thinking that lead to my judgment of them as guilty appeared to be thoughts such as; it’s not always about you, or, you don’t care about anyone except you, or, why do we always have to do what he/she wants.  I say these thoughts appeared to be the justification for my judgement of the other person because the true cause lay deeper and was only masquerading as these poor-me thoughts.

The thoughts that actually drove my reactive judgments consisted of ideas such as; we should put others before ourselves, and, my experience will not be as good without this person, and, I need him/her to say yes to what I want to do to validate me, and, I need to be heard… and on and on.  Unfortunately, without awareness, all I am left with at the time of believing these thoughts is their resulting feelings of fear, hurt, and anger and I don’t know what to do with those unpleasant feelings.  I do recognize that they don’t feel good;  I don’t feel good and I want to feel better.

In those moments, I am giving the other person the power to take away the peace in me.   It’s as if I’m saying to myself, “I can only be peaceful now if they would change.”  I am holding them responsible for my own sense of being a victim.  All of this generates the deep feelings of fear, sadness, wanting, and overall insecurity I experience when I believe the thoughts and make them guilty for being selfish.  Some would say I then judge myself as guilty for having the feelings (who am I to feel this…  the world has taught me I’m weak for feeling this way) and the guilt feels so terrible I have to get rid of it so I project it out.  I project it onto the other person in the form of judging them as selfish.   Now they are guilty and I can feel better.

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We can learn much about where we are today from reflection such as this and how we experience the world around us just as I do in the Illusive Secrets books I offer as demonstration.  I have tried both ways of being; putting others before myself and taking care of me first.  Over time I’ve experienced that taking care of me by loving myself first opens the door to inner peace in ways that far exceed what any self-sacrificing action ever uncovers.  Only by being selfish first can I ever be able to truly know selflessness.  When I’m nurturing and loving of self I am setting the conditions for me to be ever-more compassionate towards others and the world in which I find myself.

The most curious aspect of all of this is that when I observe myself doing the exact things I judge as selfish in others, I see my behaviors as nurturing and self-loving; not selfish at all.

 

Ill Sec 2 cover 240WI invite you to consider ILLUSIVE SECRETS: DISCOVERING THE POWER OF SELF-HONESTY and other books and CDs at  www.JamesPatrickMcDonald.com

Visit our VIDEO PAGE where we offer  EMPOWERING topics and self-awareness tools & tips

Contact Me or JOIN OUR EMAIL LIST for book and speaking engagement announcements.  I try to respond to all contacts as soon as i can and i love hearing from you about what you like regarding my sharing and my work.

Use Chaos to Eliminate Chaos in Your Life

Chaos blog blue globeWe all would claim to have at least some chaos in our lives.  Whether or not it is true depends on each person’s definition of what chaos is or means to them and many define or experience chaos as the result of external forces beyond our control.  That said, regardless of how we define chaos, when we experience it we all have one thing in common; we are not peaceful.  There are very few people who would define chaos as a peaceful experience and yet the good news is, our definition of chaos may just be the culprit that’s blocking the harmony we seek from our awareness.

We can look at chaos in two ways.  The first is to see chaos as something to be fixed, changed, corrected, and most significantly, resisted.  This approach to chaos always results in suffering.  We suffer primarily due to the payoff that comes from the aged-old philosophy that says; what you resist persists and what you fight, you strengthen.

The second way of looking at chaos is to welcome it with willingness as a gift offering awareness and freedom.  I say willingness because without the willingness to look at our own experience of chaos, we inevitably stumble into the first view of it and then we’re off an running again in resistance, struggle, and suffering.  To welcome chaos when it comes requires nothing more than the willingness to pause and notice our experience.  If we are able to do this simple thing, we quickly realize that what we thought was chaotic and out of control, actually is nothing more than a reaction to a thought we are holding onto and believing.

The thought that results in us feeling “out of control” or in the midst of “chaos” is always something along the lines of: This shouldn’t be happening this way, or, I need this to be different, or, there’s way too much to do.  If we are able to pause, bring our attention to the experience we are having in this moment, and identify the experience by looking at our thoughts, physical sensations, and feelings, that is the first step.  Once there, we have information we can work with and from there we can begin to explore and ask questions.

We can ask ourselves questions like:

  • What thought am I believing right now about this situation?
  • What is it in me that is resisting this situation and wants it to be different?
  • Does what I’m experiencing right now feel good, am I peaceful?

Asking questions brings awareness, and in awareness of our experience we realize over time that the experience is the reaction to a thought, or belief that somehow the current situation is not right.  Because we believe it is somehow wrong, or more specifically, different than it should be, we are fighting with the situation and fighting always leaves us feeling less than peaceful.

pink-1328819_1280cropIn looking at how we experience chaos as often as we can we begin to realize our resistance has no value.  When we believe there is value in resisting, desiring things to be different than they are, we continue in our delusional state of uneasiness and suffering, thinking it is valuable to us.  Upon looking, we realize there is no value in it and we quickly learn that the value actually lies in our acceptance.  In acceptance we are free to address the situation objectively.  In acceptance the situation does not appear as chaotic, but rather it simply appears to us as a situation where we may or may not take action.

In acceptance we are quiet, still, and peaceful and we understand that chaos is merely an ephemeral response to a non-existent thought that when recognized as such, quickly disappears into the nothingness from where it came leaving only peace, harmony, and positive action in its wake.

 

Buy Illusive Secrets now.

Buy Illusive Secrets now.

I invite you to consider ILLUSIVE SECRETS: DISCOVERING THE POWER OF SELF-HONESTY and other books and CDs at  www.JamesPatrickMcDonald.com

Visit our VIDEO PAGE where we offer SIMPLE EMPOWERING topics and self-awareness tools & tips

Contact Me or Join our Mailing List for book and speaking engagement announcements.  I try to respond to all contacts as soon as i can and i love hearing from you about what you like regarding my sharing and my work.