Growing up in our patriarchal american society, its absolutely necessary women understand the importance of making time to take care of themselves. As a teen I witnessed my mother in the hospital on the verge of death and being “ok with it” because she just wanted to “get some sleep”. Where was her husband, my step father? He was napping. My mom is one of the most self-less women I have ever known… self-less to a fault.
Let me explain.
In order to accurately state my debate effectively, I am providing some definitions around the words self, selfish and selfless, and the suffixes -ish and -less.
The definitions for self, selfish, and selfless are:
Self: a person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others, especially considered as the object of introspection or reflexive action
Selfish: lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.
Selfless: concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own
Well now, as you can see there is so much negative connotation surrounding the word selfish. The very act of being selfish states that if you are to act selfish, you have total disregard for others. Ouch! According to these definitions (and our society), it’s much better to embrace the act of being selfless, caring about others more than you care about your own needs.
I call bullsh*t! Nonsense! You’ll see why in just a bit!
Next let’s take a look at the suffixes -ish and -less.
The suffix -ish means with the sense of “belonging to”and the suffix -less means “without”
Now that we have the correct meanings out in the open for everyone to see, lets examine in more detail.
If we look at the meanings of the suffix -ish, we see “belonging to” and “inclined or tending to” whereas the suffix -less means “without” and “inability to perform”.
Let’s take the word self, meaning “the entire person of an individual” and “the union of elements that constitute the individuality and identity of a person“.
As we know from grammar school, we take the suffix and put it at the end of a word to make a new word. Here we go…
Self- (the individuality and identity of a person)
combined with -ish (belonging or tending to)
should create the word…
selfish; meaning belonging or tending to the individuality and identity of a person.
Can someone please explain how the definition was changed to a negative insinuation meaning “a disregard of others”???
How did we go from the word selfish meaning “belonging and tending to one’s own identity” to the erroneous meaning of “disregarding others”?
This is a BIG DEAL right?!
Our entire lives we have been bred to believe that being selfish is a careless and harmful act towards others! We have been brainwashed into assuming that if we choose to “belong to ourself” (as the correct definition of selfish should be stated) then we are negligent and thoughtless.
We have been taught to be self-less, like Mother Theresa. Be saintly. Do for others more than you do for yourselves. Put others needs first and your own needs last. Yes, this is all very virtuous and sounds godly but how many of you out there are trying to serve your family and their needs (along with the needs of your boss, your household chores, your piling bills) while your cup is bone-dry like the Sahara Desert?
Many Women. Most Women.
Earlier I mentioned my Mom was so tired, that laying in the hospital she reached a point of being ok with death because it meant getting some sleep! She was severely struggling with the Self-LESS Syndrome as I like to call it.
Let’s create the word self-less like we did above with the word self-ish.
Self – (the individuality and identity of a person)
combined with -less (“without” or inability to perform)
should create the word…
selfless; without the individuality and identity of a person
Once again, can someone please explain to me how selfless took on the moral and ethical disposition required of us?
From my perspective, I see that the only way we can correct these societal problems, nurture our young and spiritually grow as individuals and as a community is if we all become selfish. If each of us did the work required to “tend to the individuality and identity of ourselves” as the definition should state, we would live in a completely different world. If we truly understand what it would look like to live in a community of people who know themselves down deep to their core, because they’ve spent the time searching and learning, people everywhere would find their light within.
In my conclusion, the definitions of selfish and selfless more accurately are:
Selfish: belonging and tending to one’s own identity
Selfless: without the individuality and identity of a person
Every day I choose to be Selfish, as this above definition should be stated. The more I tend to my own identity, the better mother, wife, daughter and friend I am and will be.
I invite you all to be selfish!