Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'd like to be less selfish, except that I can't really see any immediate benefits to it.

2 comments:

amlynn said...

I considered this post several times until I realized you don't see the immediate benefits of being less selfish. How selfish are you?

Timothy Young said...

amlynn,

This was supposed to be a clever witicism containing a self-evident truth. Apparently it wasn't very clever, or witty. Or self-evident.

To get straight at the point, my thinking was that one of the challenges of overcoming selfishness is to come to terms with the fact that life offers deeper joy than what we can obtain by serving only our own needs and wants. But the only way to achieve the joy that comes from putting other's needs before our own is to, well, put other's needs before our own.

In short, to get to the deeper joys of life often we have to be willing to sacrifice the immediate pleasures that come from fulfilling our own desires. The trouble is that sometimes the urge to satisfy our own desires is strong enough that it overwhelms our ability to see what could be if only we were willing to attend to others rather than ourselves.

So how selfish am I? Sometimes I sit on the couch and read when I know there are dirty dishes in the sink and if I wait long enough my wife will do them, even though she's probably done them three times already that day. Sometimes, when I'm tired of listening to my kids whine and cry, I put them in their rooms for the least offense, without any real discussion as to why they're being punished, just to be rid of them. Sometimes when I get a phone call from someone asking me to fulfill my responsibilities related to my church duties I grumble (internally, of course) and ask myself why this person can't just take care of their own problems. I couldn't possibly number the times when I was in school and should have been studying but chose to read a novel or play games on the computer or surf the internet.

Hopefully that sheds a little light on how selfish I am.