Love Series Day#8 Part 1: the prison of selfishness

By Monica C. Voskamp

Selfishness.

This has been the hardest aspect of love thus far. What I’ve uncovered I wish to deny, hence, I’ve stalled on this post!

Selfishness revolves around ONE world, the person themselves. Think about it. That holds heavy implications for a person’s value. It means your value is a shifting one, and you don’t actually matter. Hear that…you actually do *not* matter in a self-centered person’s life. It’s all about them and what they can gain from you. If you suffer along the way, tough.  Your loss doesn’t matter as long as the self-centered person’s world is spinning their way, in their control.

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Photo by Yeshi Kangrang on Unsplash

Looking at this aspect of love has forced me to honestly examine myself. I’d like to think of myself as a good person, beyond reproach, you know kinda perfect lol. 😉  But I’m not perfect, but deep down I strive for perfection, measure myself by perfection, and oddly believe myself close to perfection or at least more perfect than others. (this is so absurd!)

This is fantasy thinking. I’m not anywhere near close to perfection. Ha. It’s such a lie, foolish to even think so.

A good friend told me: Monica, you’re not perfect (& neither will he be.) We were discussing relationships. 😉 When my friend stated that part about me, it was an awakening, a relief.  The past couples months I’ve mulled over selfishness and I can’t help but truthfully admit: I’m not perfect… I’m actually selfish.

Okay,  you may say, sure every human is selfish. What’s the big deal? Admitting you are selfish is a big deal to a person who doesn’t think they are!  It’s easier to deny. Selfishness avoids the truth, because yes, the truth hurts and is scary to face…but the truth also heals and frees up new space in your life.

As I traveled into the recesses of my soul, I’ve realized there is a dark land residing within ME. I was shocked. I’m a selfish person (I don’t want to be!!) but it’s something I won’t deny anymore, this humanity in me. What’s more,  I want to face it’s dark and kick the sh*t out of it, so my heart can breathe and have room for love.

When I live from selfishness’ dark land, I don’t care about others. I close my door to love, purposely. I’m not concerned about anyone but me.

When I was a little girl, I was rather possessive over food. When it came to sharing that coping mechanism of mine, well, have fun with that! My baby sis can testify. She *still* reminds me of the time we were given a bag of chips to share. My little sister would quickly stake her claim, a little pile of chips, before I could devour them all. From past experiences, she couldn’t trust that I’d be fair, never mind even offer her more than fair.

Selfishness doesn’t care about being fair. Selfishness doesn’t give a sh*t if you are in need. Worst, selfishness breaks trust.

I’m talking deeper than chips here. I’m talking about experiences I’ve had with selfish people….the time a person evicted me, called me horrible names and falsely accused me…the time a drunk man yelled at me for hours and threatened to call my mother and say vile things to her..Selfishness doesn’t care how much it wounds you.

I feel sheepish how I hoarded those chips from my sister. I know I was just a kid but my selfish behavior never righted itself by itself.

Heads up: Selfishness doesn’t resolve on it’s own.

Our family wasn’t well off, but we got by. New clothes were not a thing, the thrift store and hand me downs were. The closest to new clothes we got were clothes from our relatives in the city. I was always SO excited when those fashionable clothes came. I was sure to be the first to dig in and pick out the prettiest ones for myself. My other sisters didn’t care too much about clothes. But my attitude was selfish.

Somehow the cute clothes were often WAY too small. Yet, regardless if it fit properly, I’ll still nab it as my mine. I wanted the best for myself and didn’t care about my sisters needs. I honestly didn’t even consider thinking that way..or if I did, it was probably a guilty conscience voice!

These examples are petty, yet give the basics.

Self-seeking wants the best for itself and not for others.

It doesn’t take too much observation to see selfish people are NOT generous people.

Love would’ve looked in those bags, seen the stylish size 4 skirt and thought ‘Hey this skirt would fit my sister just perfect and its even her favorite color!’  But no… I was selfish and tried to fit in that skirt myself even if it was uncomfortably tight.

Selfishness hides beauty meant for others and tries to hoard it for themselves.

Self-seekers have themselves as #1 one on the list. Actually, they are the only person on the list. Various times in my life, I’ve missed out on the joy of giving and known the misery of selfishness instead. Selfishness will grab hold of something and cling with fierce tenaciousness; it’s not interested in sharing. This isn’t love, love doesn’t hoard.

Love creates a space where it doesn’t demand to have those 6 cupcakes now, doesn’t demand for instant sexual gratification. Love doesn’t use money as a means of greed, to benefit oneself only. Love doesn’t dictate relationships because it fears it may lose the person if it doesn’t control them.

 Selfishness cares about instant gratification, but is never truly filled.

I’ve felt voids & tried to fill them with other voids. I’ve misused food, sex, money, exercise…I’m sure other things too. But void-living has never lead me to happiness and freedom. Selfishness only hurts and enslaves. It doesn’t help, anyone.

When I have a void and am struggling, I’m afraid to say so. I would rather run the other way than admit the secret not so pretty places of me.

Selfishness fears vulnerability. To be vulnerable you have to be willing to expose your soul to another person and not know how it will turn out. You have to let go of the controls. You have to give trust a chance. You probably need to change the way of going about things. These things don’t sound super appealing to most people, so selfishness is preferred instead.

When I’m struggling in a void, I feel lonely.  Why? I don’t want to admit the issue I’m struggling with. I would rather cling to it’s misery than seek out help. I’m ashamed.

Aren’t we all? Aren’t we all ashamed to admit we are imperfect selfish creatures? Aren’t we all afraid to admit our issues? But if we did, maybe then we’d realize how not so alone we really are.

I grew up with church people who were striving to be and living to create the look of perfect, yet we failed. We FAILED to admit our imperfections, our voids, our selfishness.

Instead we persisted in saying we are right, when really we weren’t so right. We’re just as human as they come. Religious or not, no one escapes the nature of humanity.

 Selfishness misses out on love because it’s bent on doing things it’s own way.

It refuses to admit it’s wrong. The selfish person never finds freedom or heart joy. They are forever caught in the whirling madness of selfish poison.  It’s really sad.

I finally understand a bit of the narcissistic people I’ve dated, people I’ve met, organizations I’ve been a part of.  If I set their horrible behavior aside, I see lonely, angry, hurt, proud and fearful people. They are afraid of love. They know the world of hate, anger, and greed. To reckon with the honesty of their selfish living is too much for them.  Encountering the light of love scares the heck out of narcissists and ego-sized people.

Selfish people have chosen their prison. 

They actually don’t want freedom, what they DO want is to continue doing life their way.  They’ve accepted their prison and made it home. They use control, intimidation and positions of power to keep their own sanity I suppose, and maybe more so, to deny the magnitude of their prison.

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Photo by Simon King on Unsplash

I DO NOT want to end up like that. EVER! I’ve seen it’s cruelty and misery. I don’t want the prison of selfishness; I want the freedom of love.

As much as I’m scared of my fumbling journey to love, I believe love’s power is enough to break the grounds of any and every dark in my heart, including selfishness. I believe this voyage to love is worth pursuing.

And that’s why I”m still here, writing, chasing the truth about love.

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Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

 

Always believe. Always hope. Know love will always be. ❤

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