Self-improvement = being selfish

2 years, 4 months ago

First of all I’m relatively new here, I think it’s something you should know.
Maybe it’s not the perfect website to post my opinion but here I can find people who are not afraid to think critically and to question their own beliefs.
So don’t you think that self-improvement itself means being very, very selfish? I’ve just read Cormac McCarthy’s book ‘The Road’. It’s a post-apocalyptic story where people want nothing but desperately survive. And also in real life every creature’s goal on Earth is to survive, to cling to life as far as they can. In the ancient times for example, when laws changed from one country to another, tribes, nations attacked each other and if somebody’s villages had been attacked out of a sudden they had hardly any chance to survive. They either died or became slaves.
While we live in an era where we have nothing to worry about. Ok, we have bills to pay but it’s nothing compared to the cotinuous fear of being attacked.
I live in Hungary, an Eastern European country. Self-improvement is important here too, there are lots of articles like ‘How to become happy in 10 days’. But what I see is that in the US it became much more important. There are a lot of depressed people there while you(the majority on HE I think) live in a country with relatively good economy, good prospects for the future etc. (in general,there are exceptions of course). I think that in the media you hear way too much about the importance of finding yourself. There are many many books and movies in this topic mainly written by american writers. You always hear that you have to live a life and get a job in which you can be yourself and you find joy in it. (I’ve never been there so what I think is only based on what I experience on the internet, in movies and in books.) While here I’m always told to choose a job with which I can get enough salary to make a living (and my family has a quite good financial status so I’m not in the worst situation).
So I think that ‘finding yourself’ is a term that became too fashionable and overused and everybody takes it as somekind of truth and nobody asks whether it’s really that important or not. Noting happens if you don’t find yourself. People think about it so much that they become depressed if they can’t find themselves. We have this always on our minds and if we can’t find ourselves we think it’s our fault and at the end we take it as a failure. If we don’t think about it at all we’ll have much more time to care for others, to help other people who are not in such a good situation as we are. Or we could just live happily and thankfully for living in such a peaceful era and place.
(What I say is only true about modern, developed societies.)

November 2, 2012 at 1:09 pm

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Profile photo of Selcuk YILDIZ Selcuk YILDIZ (@selcukyildiz) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

@jacuzzi I do not think so. Self improvement doesn’t mean being selfish. İt is said that What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.So If people improve their self for social benefit, for other people, and that doesn’t mean being selfish.

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Profile photo of Brendan Barstow Brendan Barstow C (@eyesopen) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

@selcukyildiz, What you do for others dies with them, so at most you’re preserving a legacy you have no conscious enjoyment of for an extra 80 years or so.

@xyver, You can most certainly find something without looking for it, in fact in this case I would prescribe anyone looking to truly find themselves to stop looking, so that they might one day realize that they are living as the person they once endeavored to find!

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Profile photo of noble.savage noble.savage (@eonyla) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

Is it possible to present oneself as a gift of positive influence- complete, whole, controlled, available, and capable enough to take on the responsibility of helping carry another persons load- if you haven’t taken the time make yourself, first? If we have neither taken the time nor showed any intererest in really getting to know OURSELVES, test ourselves with experience, first- for all our insecurities, weaknesses, pet-peeves, control drama’s, irrationalties, ethics, morality, comfortabilities, streangths, natural affinities, etc… to know how we react, how we “tick”, and understand our personal mixture of kR@zy- well, how can we present ourselves to anyonee else, or expect to understand THEM? Our’s is a reality of un-known potential, and innumerable possibilitiy, diminishing our in-born ignorance of an infinate un-known, with explorations trough interactions of external stimuli. Everything we will ever become, will be attained largely through trial and error. Moreover, as beings aware of self, conscious of our individuality, and gradually developing confidence in excersing free-will, the plane of possibility becomes increasingly clear as we, ourselves, progress toward our complete independance. In the over-all scope, it’s honesty with ourselves that must first be established; yes, over-all, we generally expect to one day find our constant, solid, entrusted companion with whom to share the journey all the way till we reach our destination. Maybe that partner is in your life already, and you just gotta get THEM to see it to lol… but otherwise, in the meantime… we interact, we converse and question, and convey, we live vicariously through each other and continue our developement with every passing moment. A man in solitary looses sanity; an infant denied physical touch and interaction will die. People NEED people in order to thrive, to grow, to be challenged, to work together, to inspire and encourage and working toward manifesting shared passions, into reality. Not all collaborations, conversations, alliances, or relationships, is meant to stand stand the test of time. Not everyone we meet will remain in our lives. This individual exploration of being ALIVE will take us all down different paths. We may bump into them again later down the line, but if the destinations and goals are not shared, we will, eventually, have to part ways on reaching the fork in the road, and continue toward our personal completion, alone. Every one-on-one interaction we encounter, is a relationship established: as repeced aquaintances, as friends, as partners-in-naughty, as lovers, as temporary-alliances of singular pursuit- each individual we connect with introduces a new element to our life-table; the dynamics that we generate with each personal, individual interaction, is unique to that combination, and thus, irreplaceable. It doesn’t matter how much they resemble someone… no-one can ever re-create harmonies we enjoyed with the people we miss. In the end, honesty really is the best policy. We are all in different stages of our personal journey, but there are always options and opportunities: meet and converse with brand new fellow travelers… explore the detours, shortcuts and waterfalls… or find the more scenic path-with-the-view… or, combine all of the above for maximum enjoyment, so long as every-one is aware of what they are signing up for and working with, the sky’s the limit.

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Profile photo of Strathy Strathy (@strathy) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

@jacuzzi, In order to change other people into a better direction first you need to be in one. You need to be knowledgeable/have experience of the way you are proposing and only then you can change somebody or the whole country. So selfish(in means of improvement) is the start of where you can try to help others. Many politicians fail to do good because they don’t even know the way or have seen one with their own eyes.

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Profile photo of Kidd Kidd (@kidd) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

Before you can effectively make others happy, you need to be happy with who you are. Because of this, self improvement is quite the opposite of selfishness.

If I’m not happy with who I am, I’m not going to help others. It’s not because I wouldn’t want to, but because I wouldn’t know how to. How can I show compassion towards others while not sparing any for myself? And it’s not as if kindness is limited… I just think it needs to start with yourself.

What comes to mind for me with this topic is relationships. If a person isn’t happy with herself, any romantic relationship she enters will be utterly dependent on her partner. You can’t depend on others to make you happy, and by not making an effort to make yourself happy and healthy, you become a drag and unwanted burden on others’ shoulders.

It’s important to achieve happiness for yourself so you can share that with others.

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Profile photo of zowie zowie (@zowie) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

give give give. and expect nothing in return.

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