Selfish? Who…me? Without a doubt. But it took a while to begin recognizing it. I had the idea that selfish meant focusing on what I had or didn’t have. It’s SO much more than that.
For me, when I get selfishly agitated, it throws me into an emotional free-fall. The wisest thing I can do is to stop everything and identify the character defect that is propelling me downward.
I’ve struggled to differentiate in Step 4 between self-seeking and selfish. For me, it helps to visualize myself as either a Self-seeking Narcissist with a mirror; or as a Selfish Two-Year-Old in a stylin’ hat!
If it fits any of the following, the character defect is selfishness. For me, these ing words are clues to selfishness: wishing, reacting, demanding, pretending, obsessing
You probably have some of your own, but these are mine. I would share them, but if you don’t already have them, you don’t want them! In that case, you could make your own list.
The first word is wishing. I know I’m wishing again when I find myself thinking, oh, come on people! Let’s start with Wishing:
- things would come more easily to me
- everyone would act like me, think like me
- other people would understand me and accept me
- someone else would meet my needs (dependence)
- I could control others (read: they should take my advice!)
The second word is pretending. I know I’m pretending when I get angry with someone, or feel really let down by them. To be disappointed is to have had an expectation. I’ve heard it described as a planned resentment. Now look at Pretending: These show me I’m not being realistic.
- my life can go according to my plan (playing God)
- if I don’t pay attention to something that scares me, it will go away (denial)
- I am going to ‘arrive’, have everything under control and figured out
- that people can be who I think they should be if they try harder
- I am really wonderful if everyone would just get to know me (grandiosity)
And look at Obsessing: This is when my mind keeps running in the same old circles.
- about wanting to feel special, be comfortable, find a sense of security
- about material, financial, or personal goals
- about appearance, effectiveness, progress or accomplishments
- about who is to ‘blame’ or about being right
And now, Reacting:
- out of self-esteem issues
- out of self-loathing
- out of self-righteousness
- to people’s opinion of me
- to other people’s choices
Summary: Being selfish is expecting the world to run according to Heidi. I may look great in that potty hat, but being selfish is still an inability to live life on life’s terms. Who knew? Not me, not before doing Step 4.