Moving from Unconditionally Loving Yourself to Unconditionally Loving Others! (being Unselfish without bitterness & resentment)

October 13, 2008

If someone told you that you must be selfless and not selfish, they are wrong. If they tell you that you need to figure out and take care of all your needs first before you can be there for others; they are very close to being right. The actuality is finding a balance across time to be selfish and selfless. Sometimes you have to do what’s right for yourself and sometimes without hesitation you do what you think is right for others. This is the place to be; the balance.

Here’s my personal account…
It took me about two years from the time I decided to love myself unconditionally till I discovered how I could be truly selfless towards others. I saw this as a move from being selfish to selfless. I started by demanding that others love and accept me for who I was, just like what my mom would do for me. But most of all, I wanted this special someone to accept me as is, for my mistakes, my flaws and my foolishness; to love me for me and not for what I do or say.
With this big expectation that seemed quite easy for others, I was missing a big reality.
The chances of this happening the way I expected was not in my favor. I was battling time and patience.

~The Secret (movie)~

Around this period the inspirational movie – ‘The Secret’ made waves. But as much as it had its media and skeptic back lash, I found a value in the law of attraction i.e. ‘Like attracts like’; the concept of compatibility.
I asked myself ‘what was it that I wanted to attract?’
I wanted others to love me unconditionally just as I love myself. That’s all.

Then it hit me…
In order to be loved and accepted by others unconditionally, I had to first love and accept them unconditionally, i.e. I had to be like them to attract them.

It was a tough thought to accept for the longest time. I didn’t need to consciously apply this to my parents while I was younger; but I guess I always accepted them unconditionally without knowing. And now, to be compatible with this new breed of people, I had to become those qualities that I wanted from them. It seemed to follow the age old wisdom that ‘I have to give love to get love in return’ or ‘Giving away something from your closet to make room for something new.’

~Unselfish Moral Obligations v/s Selfish Heart’s Desire~

From the kind of society we come from and with the constant battles we fight within ourselves and outside, it is a bit difficult to be truly unselfish without understanding or taking help from any source. Even though we try to listen closely to our conscience, we confuse ourselves over moral obligations. Its very unfair that we argue ourselves over what we morally ‘ought’ to do versus what we desire to do. Some moral duties as taught to us by parents and society are the most heart breaking of them all. To make things worse, we sometimes hear disheartening and un-supportive statements from them when we divert away from our moral obligations. We silently punish ourselves by thinking how cruel and un-sacrificial we really are even though we did it in innocence for ourselves.

Here’s a list of popular taunts from my hay days ;-):
You are self centered.
Its all about you.
All you think and care about is yourself.
You are selfish.
You always have vested interests.
You always want something.

Here’s another list of what I secretly tell myself but I deny being it when others question me!
What am I going to get from this?
How am I going to gain if I help others?
What is in it for me?
What’s the point if I get nothing in return?

These are just normal behaviors found in most people who have been trying to help themselves by unconditionally loving themselves. It sounds a bit superficial when I say it but unless they completely help themselves, they cannot help others. What can I offer you if I can’t offer much to myself?

~finding that balance~

When I learned how to balance a bicycle, I’ve noticed that I fell at least once to the left and once to the right. It seemed natural to tip, twist & turn before balancing myself right. Only when I learned and realized the extremities of these 2 ends, that I slowly wavered to a center point decreasing my chances of error. This comes with practice, sheer determination and the understanding that I don’t have to be perfect to appreciate my constant efforts.
I don’t race against time, but I take my time. The same applies to finding a balance between selflessness and selfishness. As long as you are on the earth plane, you have to find a balance between the two. You cannot sustain being entirely selfless or selfish. Experience both extremities before finding what you like. In all cases, humans in general are naturally selfless most of the time as well as naturally confused about it ;). but as always you are the best judge to know what is a good balance for you.

Most people bounce between these two extremities (selfless and selfish).
As they confuse themselves over it, they tend to make life miserable for the ones they love but worse off, they make life miserable for themselves. If they can successfully understand what they are doing wrong, the only way is up!

~Unselfish with resentment aka Miss Doormat~
This is denial at its best. Miss Doormat is a person who loves to help but doesn’t know how to stop and where to draw the line. She needs to learn to help herself instead; she needs to know ‘when’ to say ‘No’ and when to say ‘Yes’. Without this, Miss Doormat is constantly denying herself the love and respect she deserves. I’ve seen my friends behave like doormats and it really upsets me to see them the way they are without seeking help. Worse off, they mostly get bad advice from very helpful friends who are clueless themselves.

~Selfishness with resentment/guilt~
When you recognize that you are selfish, you do so because you have the opposing desire to be what comes to you naturally; i.e. the act of being selfless. The only way to dissolve the guilt and resentment is to understand a certain reality. A reality that ‘you cannot give what you do not have enough of’, ‘you cannot make others happy if you are unhappy’ and that ‘you cannot love others if you cannot love yourself first’. You will also be the best judge to know when you are ready for this selfless leap. Morality is just a road block to attaining high levels of spirituality i.e. your best possible you.

From Miss Doormat’s point of view, she could be making efforts to say ‘No’ and help herself instead. Being in this new place, she may be confused with certain realities. She may be overly uncomfortable with being ‘not nice’ as she may see it. She may worry about what others think about her instead of what she thinks about herself. But putting others aside, if she recognizes herself to feel slightly good about being selfish, its a good thing, a time of self healing. Once she masters this state, she can progress to higher grounds of balance.

~Selfishness without resentment~
If you can be selfish without resentment without publicly denying it, it would be a good state to be in (on one condition). You would need to be truthful about it and make it clear to others that you are what you are i.e. self-centered. A bold statement like this is usually appreciated and well reciprocated. Either way, this stage is a definite stepping stone to finding a good balance. The best judge to know when you are ready to be a bit selfless is you.

~Un-Selfish without resentment~
People at this level are usually the spiritually evolved. I have a set of friends who I thought were like doormats but they never resented giving away what they had. In fact it didn’t really affect them if someone walked away thinking that they took advantage of them. They seemed to do this consciously with absolutely no resentment. But as much as it bothered me initially, I realized that every action they performed was equal to the weathering of rocks. It may not be visible today, but overtime it will weather even the strongest and biggest of stone hearts. They are ‘Time Surfers’ and made time their friend. They understand death, concepts of re-incarnation and the afterlife. They are my teachers in this lifetime and I realize that my life on earth is a like being in school. I am still learning.

I hope this helps you as much as it helped it me during my time of need.
Love & Peace out!

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