I am struggling with a question – maybe you can help or maybe you have struggled with this concept too? It is the word: selfish. This word seems to always have a negative connotation. My struggle is to find a word that means “thinking of one’s self” which does not seem negative. Let me explain:
In earlier posts I suggested that the Golden Rule operates in a two-part process. My research suggests that one should focus on current situation regarding results and outcome for self, first. And then test results and outcome for the people with whom we associate. Be a little “selfish!” When I speak in this way I almost always draw raised eyebrows. Why? Ultimately, our vocabulary has identified a word that carries a negative connotation. Merriam-Webster dictionary says selfish is “having or showing concern only for yourself and not for the needs or feelings of other people.” If you go to the other side of the equation, say “altruism” our definition is “others over self.” There doesn’t appear to be anything in the middle!
I can use a short phrase: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” That is the perfect phrase to identify “loving self first!” You must get your house in order before you can help others arrange theirs. This process applies to daily decisions as well. It is impossible for us to operate in a vacuum! We must interface with others in nearly every decision made throughout our lives.
What is the best course of action for your current situation?
And then, how does that affect others? This is the step that avoids selfish results.