Is There Such A Thing As Good Selfishness?

What Is The Highest and Best Form of Selfishness?

Has anyone ever told you that you are selfish? Were you offended? Did you defend and justify your actions? Did you walk away feeling insulted?

I have been rethinking selfishness, the ego, and self-centeredness. In some schools of thought these are dirty words, nasty attributes to be subdued, transmuted, and overcome. But maybe they're not so bad. Maybe its all how you look at them.

Baseball star Reggie Jackson said, "The only thing I don't like about the World Series is that I can't watch myself play." Now this statement sure sounds egotistical. But maybe it's an admirable form of ego. Maybe the guy really likes and appreciates himself. Maybe this kind of self-appreciation is what made Reggie Jackson a sports superhero.

Being a Proud Super-Hero

Perhaps if you and I received that much enjoyment out of what we do and we were willing to state it openly, we would be superheroes in our own right. Maybe we are already superheroes, but we have not been ready to claim and make a stand for our greatness.

Shakespeare declared, "Self-loving is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting." Most of the people I know suffer more from self-neglect than from self-loving. Hilda Charlton, a mystic with whom I studied for many years, suggested that everyone in the world has veered from peace in one of two ways: through arrogance or a sense of unworthiness. Yet the arrogant suffer from the greatest feelings of unworthiness, for those who impose themselves on others are motivated by an inner sense of lack and powerlessness. Can you imagine how empty Hitler must have felt to have to destroy others to get his way?

Being Self-Centered & Obnoxious?

Sometimes people in my seminars protest, "But if I do the things I really want to do, I am afraid I will become self-centered and obnoxious." No, I tell them, you will become self-empowered, happy, and a delight to be around. You will have so much energy, prosperity, health, and well-being that you will be in the best possible position to support others and serve them in the most powerful way.

The highest form of selfishness leads to the highest form of service. Most people on the spiritual path have a long way to go before they become egotists. Many of us could use a good dose of egotism.

Teaching on the spiritual circuit for many years has afforded me the opportunity to observe many of the most popular and highly-regarded teachers, authors, therapists, and gurus on the planet. Many of them are blazing egotists, high-maintenance celebrities with long lists of demands of those who promote and surround them. Some of them, from a clinical standpoint, would be judged to have serious personality disorders.

Yes, that brilliant person whose book you just paid $25 to read, and whose seminar you just paid thousands of dollars to attend, is extremely self-involved. Some such leaders must run the wherever they go, and no one else gets to get a word in edgewise.

Self-Confidence: Caring About Yourself

Now here is what I have also noticed: These people are also extremely self-confident. They recognize that their ideas are good and they have a lot to offer. They are not busy trying to please people or say the politically correct thing. Some of them don't care at all if you like them.

They care about expressing themselves. They care about making a stand for what they believe. They care about the service organization they are building to help orphans or the dying or AIDS patients or the disadvantaged. They care so much about themselves that they are inspiring other people to care about themselves.

Personally, I think egotistical teachers are ahead of the game. I think they are happier and get more accomplished than a bunch of wimpy self-flagellators hoping God will still love me if I eat Fritos. And yes, I write from my own experience. I remember walking the streets of New York for an hour during a conference lunchtime, trying to find a restaurant without preservatives. I ended up starving for the day, and I wasn't much fun to be with. Now I would rather just eat.

In the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas we are told, "If you bring forth what is within you, it will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, it will destroy you." This means that your greatest gift to yourself -- and everyone -- is self-expression. Others may judge your self-expression to be egotistical, but maybe a good strong ego is a powerful vehicle to do what you came to do.

Book by this Author:

Enough Already: The Power of Radical Contentment
by Alan Cohen.

Enough Already: The Power of Radical Contentment by Alan Cohen.

In a world where fear, crisis, and insufficiency dominate the media and many personal lives, the notion of claiming contentment may seem fantastic or even heretical. Yet finding sufficiency right where you stand may be the answer to a world obsessed with lack. In his warm, down-to-earth style, Alan Cohen offers fresh, unique, and uplifting angles on coming to peace with what is before you and turning mundane situations into opportunities to gain wisdom, power, and happiness.

Click here for more info or to order this book.

About The Author

Alan CohenAlan Cohen is the author of many inspirational books including A Course in Miracles Made Easy and his newly-released inspirational book, Soul and Destiny. Join Alan and musician Karen Drucker for a transformational in-person ACIM-based retreat in California, Into the Light, December 6-10, 2021. For information on this program and Alan’s other books, recordings, and trainings, visit AlanCohen.com
 


  


 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

More Articles By This Author

You May Also Like

INNERSELF VOICES

full moon over Stonehenge
Horoscope Current Week: September 20 - 26, 2021
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
a swimmer in large expanse of water
Joy and Resilience: A Conscious Antidote to Stress
by Nancy Windheart
We know that we're in a great time of transition, of birthing a new way of being, living, and…
five closed doors, one pained yellow, the others white
Where Do We Go From Here?
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
Life can be confusing. There are so many things going on, so many choices presented to us. Even a…
Inspiration or Motivation: Which Works Best?
Inspiration or Motivation: Which Comes First?
by Alan Cohen
People who are enthusiastic about a goal find ways to achieve it and they do not need to be goaded…
photo silhouette of mountain climber using a pick to secure himself
Allow The Fear, Transform It, Move Through It, and Understand It
by Lawrence Doochin
Fear feels crappy. There is no way around that. But most of us don't respond to our fear in a…
woman sitting at her desk looking worried
My Prescription for Anxiety and Worry
by Jude Bijou
We’re a society that likes to worry. Worrying is so prevalent, it almost feels socially acceptable.…
curving road in New Zealand
Don't Be So Hard On Yourself
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
Life consists of choices... some are "good" choices, and others not so good. However every choice…
man standing on a dock shining a flashlight into the sky
Blessing for Spiritual Seekers and for People Suffering from Depression
by Pierre Pradervand
There is such a need in the world today of the most tender and immense compassion and deeper, more…
Karmic Memory: Memory Triggers and Déjà Vu
Karmic Memory: Memory Triggers and Déjà Vu
by Joanne DiMaggio
I grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. I had nothing in common with…
How Can You Take Care of Yourself and Make Good Choices?
How You Can Take Care of Yourself and Make Good Choices
by Barbara Berger
You can only take care of yourself if you know yourself. You can only make good choices for…
The Power of Women: Healing The World With Feminine Energy
The Power of Women: Healing The World With Feminine Energy
by Lee Harris
The world will come into balance through the leadership of women. It will come back into balance…

MOST READ

How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
by Jackie Cassell, Professor of Primary Care Epidemiology, Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Brighton and Sussex Medical School
The precarious economies of many traditional seaside towns have declined still further since the…
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
by Barbara Berger
One of the biggest things I've discovered working with clients everyday is how extremely difficult…
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
by Sonja Grace
As you experience being an earth angel, you will discover that the path of service is riddled with…
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
by Susan Campbell, Ph.D.
According to most of the singles I have met in my travels, the typical dating situation is fraught…
What Men’s Roles In 1970s Anti-sexism Campaigns Can Teach Us About Consent
What Men’s Roles In 1970s Anti-sexism Campaigns Can Teach Us About Consent
by Lucy Delap, University of Cambridge
The 1970s anti-sexist men’s movement had an infrastructure of magazines, conferences, men’s centres…
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
by Glen Park
Flamenco dancing is a delight to watch. A good flamenco dancer exudes an exuberant self-confidence…
Taking A Step Toward Peace by Changing Our Relationship With Thought
Stepping Toward Peace by Changing Our Relationship With Thought
by John Ptacek
We spend our lives immersed in a flood of thoughts, unaware that another dimension of consciousness…
image of the planet Jupiter on the skyline of a rocky ocean shore
Is Jupiter a Planet of Hope or a Planet of Discontent?
by Steven Forrest and Jeffrey Wolf Green
In the American dream as it's currently dished up, we try to do two things: make money and lose…

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

AVAILABLE LANGUAGES

enafarzh-CNzh-TWdanltlfifrdeeliwhihuiditjakomsnofaplptroruesswsvthtrukurvi

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.