Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Virtues of Selfishness? PART ONE

I'd like to propose, as some may have already (though hopefully I can managed to be less misconstrued), that selfishness isn't necessarily a negative thing...
Being selfish typically implies caring for oneself at the expense of others.
Being selfless typically implies caring for others at the expense of oneself.
But what if the "expense" isn't necessarily detrimental--if it causes no harm to anyone else?

Isn't it selfish for a child to not want to be hugged, even if someone else wants to hug them?  (this photo by Spencer James)

I vote:  YES!  And because it causes no harm to anyone, it's a stance we should respect.

Isn't it selfish for a child to want to keep something that's important to them right then?

They had been passing back and forth, but now J wants to keep it.
This is W's drink.  And J really wants some.
She felt strongly about protecting the brussel sprouts.  They couldn't go in her carseat with her, but why not on the way?

She picked out her very own pumpkin.  And wanted to carry it, even though it was tricky.

I vote:  YES! And can't we respect that too?

Isn't it selfish for a child to want to figure it out in their own way? 

I vote:  YES!  And can't we respect that too?

It seems to me that we need a shift in thinking:  It's OK to be selfish!  It's ok to say, "I want this," or "I need that," or "I don't want this to happen to me."  Even if someone else doesn't like it.  It's ok to say "No," even if it would please someone else to say "Yes."


1 comment:

  1. I find it interesting that the origin of the word [self] doesn't seem to mention "regardless of others," (yet the definition still includes this subtext.) Are we adding things to definitions when we "ish" them? When did this start!?

    Perhaps there needs to be a subtle clarification on the definition of the word?

    A child's desires may not take into account others, their little id's are so self-absorbed, and likely for good reason!

    My proposal: a committee to review people's bastardization of this word! ;)