There are times where it is easier to be selfish. It is easier to think about my own point of view. I don’t feel generous or kind or patient enough to think about another’s point of view. Those days are tough. They aren’t tough because I feel guilty. They are tough because when I put me first, I just feel lousy. Those are the days that my irritability is high and my patience is low. The things that go on in my head should never see the light of day because they are vile and ugly and mean.
What I learn from those days is that it feels crappy to be selfish. It feels miserable to be wrapped up in myself. When I feel like that, I don’t like me. When I focus on me, turn my attentions and my desires only on what I want, I don’t like what I see. And worse, those are the days that the people closest to me (you!) avoid me. You tiptoe around, disappear into your rooms and try to avoid rocking the boat. My selfishness becomes a poison in our house, and nobody is unaffected.
The times that you have been the most unhappy with each other is when you focus on your own point of view.
In contrast to all that, there are times when the focus points out. There are magical days when we are all focused on each other, when we are more worried about what is happening to each other than what is happening to our own selves. We defend, we laugh, we enjoy, we are happy. Those are the very best days in our house. I don’t think our good mood makes it so, because I think the good mood comes from the pointing ourselves out, giving ourselves to each other, sharing life from the collective point of view, instead of the selfish point of view. It just feels better when we put others first. I’m not sure what it says about the selfish thing that we actually benefit when we focus on others (is that a selfish motive??) but I do know it works.
The next time I am feeling snarky and self-righteous and mean, I’m going to work harder to turn it around, to focus on other, to see a different point of view. Perhaps when I look through that lens, the cloudy veil of yuck will lift and we will all be happier for it.
Try it. Put others first.