Dying Daily #327: Selfish People

In talking about other people, we would be crazy not to acknowledge that some of them are selfish.

Most people.

All of us to some extent.

Selfish people are super easy to trust. They will always do what is best for themselves. If they have some degree of self-awareness, they may employ some sort of mental gymnastics to convince themselves it’s good for everyone, but they will do what is best for themselves in the end.

We like to think that selfishness is the one thing that we don’t have to understand in others, the one thing that is just wrong and unacceptable.

Everything makes sense

I want to think this too sometimes. For some reason, it makes us feel better about ourselves to see negative things in others, but I keep finding that selfishness makes sense too if you know a person long enough or well enough.

In general, someone raised the selfish person with the belief that they are the most important thing in their own life. Someone told them they were special and unique and that what they were doing matters (everyone is special and unique and matters, but they took it too far). They were most likely told this through actions rather than words because that is how we really learn.

Or, someone told them, through actions and words, that if they try to deal with people fairly, they will abuse it and leave you in the lurch. If you don’t get yours first, you won’t get it at all. Things are limited, so take all you can. Other people can fend for themselves.

Digging up the past is painful

Often, when they realize that these are not strategies that work well if you want to be a truly healthy human being, they have to confront some challenging things about themselves and their families and their past if they want to change. This is very hard. Instead of fixing the present they are suddenly tearing the past up by its roots, and it’s bringing a lot of dirt with it. It leaves a big hole. People shying away from this process also makes sense.

We have to have boundaries with selfish people, or they will drain away everything we have, but we don’t have to be angry at them to do it. Being angry will, in fact, only guarantee that the boundaries don’t work for very long. They will fade when the anger fades.

Have boundaries, but understand it’s not personal.

People make sense.

There’s no reason to blame something for making sense.