It’s Sunday morning in sunny Colorado. It’s quiet since the animals are all downstairs eating and Mike is in Connecticut teaching. Inevitably, the silence makes my brain start whirring. Round and round with thoughts of this week. It winds up, spins like a top, and spits out all kinds of emotions- like panic, excitement, fear, wonder, anxiety, and eagerness. You know, just the usual extremes for me. But as I make my lists, pack my bags, arrange my life, and then undo everything to start over, I keep thinking about why it is important that I make this journey – and I keep coming back to one conclusion – pure selfishness.
Many of you know that I am the queen of beating myself up. There is nothing a bully or mean person could say that I haven’t already said to myself in my head. Anxiety, panic, and depression are ripe with negative self-talk. This morning’s conversation goes a little like this:
Me: “You know you did all this only for yourself. You didn’t think about what it would take.”
Me too: “Yeah, it was all about what I wanted for my birthday. I didn’t think about the cost or consequences.”
Me: “All you wanted was some splashy big trip to a foreign country. It was all about your needs, and blah blah blah naggy nag.”
That may not exactly be true, but there is some truth in it. The definition of selfishness is “concerned chiefly or only with yourself and your advantage to the exclusion of others.” So when you think of a charitable act or humanitarian trip as being selfish, it doesn’t really fit – there is an advantage to others and not just to me. But yet it does. The team was asked to think about what motivated them to participate, to raise the money, to want to go. I come right out and say it in the video – “I want to spend my birthday building a school.” I – My – So that is selfish.
I guess, though, almost everything we do has some element of selfishness to it. We may not always realize it or even put it into words, but when you ask about someone’s motivation, there will always be a little bit of self-benefit. Even the things that aren’t fun, like mowing the lawn, working out, or scooping poop out of the litter box, has some element of self-benefit. Mow the lawn so you don’t have to listen to the landlord complain; work out to feel and look better; scoop the poop so you don’t have to smell the stink. See? Selfish.
I think it is when the benefits to others outweigh the benefit to oneself that a little bit of selfishness is okay. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. So to those who indulged my selfishness by helping fund my charity, I think you from the bottom of my selfish little heart.
Let’s get ready to go build a school! We leave on Wednesday – me, me too, and all the others that live in my head. We are going to have a wild ride.