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The Hidden Costs of Selfishness

More recently I’ve been increasingly interested in human psychology and manner of thinking, which helps me understand how people tick, helps me help them, and increasingly I understand how differently God and the spiritual world thinks and functions. After a while one truly does see how base a creature humans can be when compared to the higher planes of thinking of the holy world.

Recently I was contemplating about a friend of mine and it occurred to me that, ironically, his selfish way of thinking was making him more unhappy, in a way I could understand it would be very difficult for him to see. And I saw the benefits of acting on faith, as a believer, and almost forcing oneself to be more selfless, where the benefits are magically produced later.

For example, whenever we meet he constantly seems to dwell on his problems. If I mention something about myself, even my own problems (after patiently listening to his endless sob stories), he immediately seems to zone out and lose attention. It’s as if my problems or life issues do not relate to his, so he sees no reason why he should pay attention to them. And it occurred to me that this obsession on his own problems is actually magnifying them and creating such a predominance in his life that he has so much less room to think positive thoughts and the cheerier side of things. His constant focus on his endless “problems” is making matters worse and not resolving anything, which is technically quite ironic when you think about it. And it occurred to me that if he had instead focused more of his attention on other people’s problems, like those who are much worse off than himself (and it is always possible to find such cases), by helping such worse off people, not only should he receive joy when he sees his work is producing good works, that person is better off and who expresses his gratitude, but by focusing his thoughts elsewhere he would actually give himself less opportunity to constantly dwell on his own petty problems, such that it would be a two-fold improvement.

Sometimes he would rant on and on, and get increasingly upset, talking about certain turning points in his life when “other people” had done something, whether intentional or not, which led his life down a more negative path. He would talk about “what if” and how things could have been so much better had his fate been different at those junctures in his life. I’d suggest that dwelling on it is not changing anything and he should just move on, focusing on more positive things and actually working towards the better. He would partially agree, but then immediately slip back into his mode of thinking, and get upset.

When you think about it, the people you meet in life who tend to have a cheerier disposition are those who are more selfless, who think about others, and who do not attach great value to their possessions. They are free from such burdens. Whereas those who hold more tightly to them and dwell on their own personal gain tend to be more frustrated and stricken with envy. It is a simple ingredient which the bible stresses over and over again, while the frustrated just blow it off as some fairy tail for children and absolutely miss the brilliant wisdom behind it.

Another ironical dilemma in his crippling way of thinking is that he would believe many of his problems would go away if he simply had a female companion to go home to after his regular troubling days. He’d spend all sort of hours on the internet looking for a mate, driving miles to fraternize a waitress in some restaurant, and be almost desperate in his approach. I went with him a few times on some of these trips while other times I heard endless stories of his problems with women, and observed that he was quite official and almost nervous and stiff in his approach. He once mentioned that he often gets to a point in his relationships with females where he stresses some ultimatum and demands on the relations, and immediately loses them (the females). It seems obvious to me that he sees these girls as a solution to all his problems, loads this pressure on them, and well, “Girls just want to have fun,” don’t they? So once again his nature of dwelling on himself is foiling the very solution he so firmly believes will solve all his problems. It seems paradoxical, humorous, and even just!

And I find that many people can think in a similar way. If I mention this to them and the possible benefits of being more selfless, I am sure I would receive a blunt scoff – how absurd a concept to think about other people as a means to make oneself more happy. Arguably an absurd concept indeed, but that is just one example of the magic of God, and how things might work when you step out of the base mire and move up to a higher plane of thinking.

 

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