Selfish vs Altruistic

The quicker
we free ourselves of the judgment
that we are doing something
and admit
that we are doing something
because we feel
pleasant emotions
knowing what we did
mattered to others,
the quicker we can go beyond
the dualistic paradigm
of selfish
vs altruistic
and begin the creation
of a virtuous cycle
or the destruction
of a vicious cycle.

Hamster Wheel

It’s easy to think
that the things
other people want us to do
are more important
than what we want to do.

It can seem
that doing what we want to do
is selfish and bad
while doing what others want us to do
is altruistic and good.

And yet,
we are the proverbial “other people”
to somebody else.

May we pause
to deeply wonder
what it is we’re doing
and ask ourselves
the wonderous question
of “why?”

Why have we prioritized
certain tasks
over others?

May we live life
as the wonderous
and paradoxical
that it is
of merely a series of problems
to be solved
our lives
can easily turn into something
to a hamster wheel.

Gift of Permission

I once told my mother, “You’ve lived a life of sacrifice. It’s time you lived for yourself.” She tells me this was a gift: a gift of permission.

As leaders, we often feel pressured to do things for others. It’s our way of being good, caring leaders.
We may also feel that unless we fulfill others’ expectations, we’re not good or good enough.

But what if these pressures and expectations are self-imposed?

Self-imposed notions of “good” or “caring” may be unappreciated—even resented—by others. Thus, “live for yourself” is an invitation, not to be selfish, but to be relieved of the pressure to satisfy false or unrealistic expectations. It is to make room in our relationship for realizing empathy.