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!

This particular write serves better as a continuation from the previous read on Trust and Faith Misunderstood.

With the amount of mistakes I constantly made, I know I had many opportunities to understand trust and forgiveness through the pain, frustration and guilt in my life. At this point today, I believe in this quote: ‘If you haven’t made any mistakes, you haven’t taken enough risks.’ And I would have learned nothing.

It’s from these many learning opportunities I realized that if we have to forgive someone or carry a grudge, it is we who carry the emotional baggage and not them. When we truly forgive someone, it is we who feel really light hearted. They on the other hand have the choice to care less or help us heal. And as painful and heavy this is, there are ways to feel lighter without having to deal with the person or system we believe created this painful situation. Life teaches us lessons in unexpected ways and sadly this is one of them. If you are at this juncture, its also quite clear that the concepts of trust and faith have been misunderstood leading to this hurtful emotion.
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~Crossing a boundary?~

While somewhere we believe that some of our limits/boundaries have been crossed, some of us still keep the courage to do the right thing. In this article I will try to logically present the answer you are looking for with the best possible forms of reason. The concept of forgiveness is something that even people with healthy self esteem tend to confuse and struggle over. Bear with me as I demonstrate the ‘act of being unforgiving towards others’ is really an illusion and were are truly unforgiving of ourselves instead. It is then not ‘our’ boundary wall that they cross but it is the boundary wall we put around them that they cross. I will start with the basics of choice as the fundamentals to this understanding.
PS. I will not attempt to justify any form of forgiveness towards physical abuse at this time. But for those desperately seeking answers here, please read up on Past Life Karmas and Life Path to understand the holistic purpose of this act
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~Choice~

We all make choices. Some of us know the outcome and hence make informed choices. Some, on the other hand (mostly wishful thinkers), make choices with the expectation of a positive outcome, ignoring the other hurtful possibilities. The more experienced on the other hand makes a conscious choice after accepting the possibility of a bad outcome while hoping for the good. These are common in the stock market where a sensible investor takes a loss in the same spirit as he would take a profit. With every choice comes emotional responsibility for its outcome no matter how bad or good it maybe.

~Mutual Respect~

We also expect others to respect our good and bad choices just as we respect theirs; especially their bad ones. A parent disapproving their daughter’s choices of a boyfriend in a dating scene usually results in the daughter being upset over it. She expects her parents to respect her choices just as she respects theirs. She expects that they trust her with the knowledge they themselves educated her with. Without mutual respect there is no healthy relationship.
In this personal journey of self discovery, everyone has the freedom to make mistakes, take responsibility and learn from it. The fear of the inability to cope is the only reason why we cannot accept a bad outcome. If we cannot accept the bad outcomes of our own choices, we can never accept the bad outcome of other’s choices either. In other words, if we cannot respect ourselves and our choices, we cannot respect others and theirs.

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~Forgiving others Or forgiving self?~

Usually when we are unforgiving of others, we are unforgiving of the choice they made. But, if somewhere in the back of our minds it clicks that those choices made by them should be respected as much as we’d expect them to respect our good and bad choices, only then will we understand that forgiving others is an illusion and that we are really trying to forgive ourselves for being ignorant of this concept (that we respect others for their choices good and bad as well, just as we expect them to respect ours). Forgiveness is a result of a misconception of trust.
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~But what is this painful feeling inside us when someone does something hurtful?~

This painful feeling is the dependence on that person or system for love, attention and fulfilling our expectations . Had we been strong enough to love ourselves instead, fulfill our own needs and give ourselves the attention we deserve, this need or dependence on others would disappear. We would then look at this whole situation very differently. We would see that this person is only making choices that he or she needs while in the process of self discovery. It has nothing to do with us and everything to do with only them. When we accept that, we unconditionally love and accept ourselves and unconditionally love and accept them. That’s true love.

~Empower Yourself~

However, many of us live outside this reality and play a painful game of master and slave where the slave seeks forgiveness from the master. One needs to remember that a master can control the slave as much as the slave allows the master to control him. The only next step to freedom is self empowerment and that comes with understanding the power of choice. The habit of being unforgiving is a global epidemic and only through the understanding of choice can we be free of the burden we carry.
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~Forgiveness in my relationship~

In my personal life a few years ago, I asked for forgiveness from two women I hurt through the choices I made. One of them said, “I will never forgive you for what you did to me,” and the other said “you are forgiven, I love you for who you are irrespective of your choices”. During that time I suffered low self esteem and the source of happiness in my life was the woman who did not forgive me. I never knew how to find happiness within myself and suffered a slave relationship trying to please her. As I grew stronger emotionally and built a healthy self esteem, I realized that I did not need others to forgive me for my choices. My choices were intended to make me happy. If I cannot be happy, I cannot make others happy and hence only through selfishness can come true authentic selflessness. If others cannot understand and respect this, it’s their inability to cope and not mine. I will make others happy only when I find happiness within myself. During that phase, I needed to forgive myself for the bad outcomes of my choices and learn to love myself unconditionally.

The power of forgiveness works at all times and for everyone. Forgive yourself, love yourself unconditionally, and help others heal just as you would heal yourself.

I would recommend two reads that really help.
The Transformative Power of Crisis

& Self Empowerment by Gary Zukav and Linda Francis

Love & Best Wishes!

originally posted at evansnf.wordpress.com

Short answer first:
Spiritualists are way beyond self and hence self respect. This doesn’t mean that they don’t respect themselves. On the contrary, they highly do. The only difference is, they don’t do it the way regular people are seen doing it. Regular people like you and me are always hurt by certain actions of others especially loved ones. We get offended for the most part & take those actions personally. We then tell ourselves that no self respecting person will fall for this twice and hence do whatever is needed to protect ourselves from it happening again. This protection, the little firewall we build, is what we’d like to call self respect. I’m sure you recall this quote: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
Spiritualists on the other hand, are not hurt by other’s actions, they instead understand that those actions are rooted within the confusion in that person itself. We act emotionally out of control while in confusion, we react defensively in confusion, and all we are really trying to do is sort out this confusion. Unfortunately, while we’re trying to figure out ourselves, others get offended or may judge us.

Spiritualists do not judge people. According to them, a person is not bad, only the action or reaction is. It is a result of them sorting confusion in the best way they know how. They understand these people only behave irrationally out of ignorance of a better way. Lessons in life eventually mature people to evolve out of such ignorance and negativity transforming them into calm rational individuals. Everyone changes on their own time and spiritualists respect them and their present limitations; the eventual outcome is apparent. This understanding stems from the quality of unconditional love and acceptance. As quoted by Mahatma Gandhi,
“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”

and now in detail…
Spiritualists were like you and me at some point in their past. However, today they have not only understood self, they have understood others and how the universe works. They focus on evolving everyone else in any which way possible (irrespective of time or action). If you think about it from a tainted point of view, Mahatma Gandhi and his non violent methods also lead to questions of self respect. In his time, we would think, ‘No self respecting man will let himself be humiliated like that’. A spiritualist instead says, ‘No self respecting man will do unto others as what he would not have done unto himself.’ It may takes years of getting humiliated before the oppressor realizes his act of oppression, hence the illusion of being humiliated did not go in vain. The humiliation is eventually seen in the oppressor through guilt and regret, which is a welcomed start to self evolution. One can attempt to see that the person causing you pain is only showing you your weak spots needing evolution; it’s never a personal attack; just an opportunity to learn within the bigger scheme of life. The point of this all is to learn what unconditional love really is.

~self empowerment~

Spiritualists have understood how to be self empowered. In a self empowerment workshop you can learn the reality that “no one can make you feel what you don’t want to without your permission” and when you feel pain towards an action performed by yourself or others, you are taught to rationalize and improve your emotional intelligence by either standing up to the adversary or gracefully absorbing the impact. When you realize that you can control the way you feel towards everything around you, you find yourself healing not only to your own self but even to others. Self Empowerment is the only start and solution to rational understanding of self and others.

~reincarnation principle in understanding self~

In a universe where we constantly re-incarnate to learn the lessons of life and self, the universe also gives materialistic power to those needing, wanting or obsessed by it. This is one positive answer towards understanding how some morally undeserving people climb ladders. The point of this universe is: Do what ever you need to do; take as much as time as you want to; we (universalists) are sure that you will evolve out of the confusion within your ego while you try to pursue true happiness. This behavior is clear in the pattern when we search for satisfaction in material, power, people etc. True satisfaction comes from understanding that material, power, people etc never contribute to happiness. Happiness comes through being in a state of absolutely no need and it comes from within. Incidentally, the only way we learn this is by trying to find happiness in material, people or power etc and each one of us has to go through the process of initiation spanning over lifetimes.

`

~What are the lessons that we need to learn over lifetimes?~

I would suggest a quick read on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs with regular cross reference to the different levels in Chakras. I used this search to pull results. Maslow, a psychologist whose findings very closely matched the chakra system, independently found this pattern and abstracted it to all humans. In this physical universe, we have 7 levels of initiation before we completely understand happiness. It starts at the lowest level in Maslow’s needs to the highest level of transcendence. The path is fixed for all participants and the growth spans over multiple lifetimes. More on this in a later write up.

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~is there a quick how to solution?~

No; pain through experience is inevitable, but you can learn, understand and find true inner self through a process of learning what unconditional love is. There is plenty of text out on the internet to help you learn what unconditional love is and how to do it. Just remember that we are all conditioned. We’ve been taught to judge people from the very start to protect self. Barely do we realize that some of these rules for self protection are nothing but a double edged sword. While we continue to explore ourselves, our limits and life in all, in the fear of being judged, we hide our true selves from each other and even from self. This is the same as lying, even worse, lying to yourself.

~if I hold back pain longer, does it make me stronger?`~

Everyone has a break point and you will break eventually. The trick is to dissolve the pain instead of pushing back. Your strength is determined by your ability to understand pain and grow out if faster than you previously did. Just like a dam over capacity, we all have limits; the faster we let the water out, the lesser the chances of dam damage. Let go and let live!

~in pursuit of happiness~

If you do not believe in destiny, then you do not believe that you want to be happy. Happiness is your destination if that is where you naturally head out to or not. No matter what you do, your intent is happiness for yourself or others. For the smart asses who wish to oppose this view by saying, “I want to remain unhappy”, it is interesting to note that being unhappy makes them happy. Happiness is inescapable and so I welcome you to the destination of destiny.

~how to live a karma free life?~`

Read this: http://www.healpastlives.com/future/rule/ruescape.htm

(as always, I will enhance this write up or remove what I find too preachy!)