Daily Thoughts, September 15, 2015
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Self Interests

Self interest has a bad reputation.  In the usual context, one never gets past the first word, self.  We have been programmed to think that everything that starts with one’s self must be bad, wrong, or at least indulgent.  As I listen, I hear advice that uses the word “balance” when it comes to anything to do with self.  As I think of the self-destructive behaviors I can see, let me suggest there is an alternative way to look at one’s self interest.

Self interests are never the same as being primarily interested in one’s self.  Taking care of one’s self is not the same as being driven by the singular goal of satisfying one’s self.  One can take care of the soul as a foundation for a higher purpose, not as a destination within itself.

Unless one takes care of one’s self, the preventative maintenance, feeding, and nurturing actions that are required for one’s physical, emotional, and intellectual self to continuing to function, one will naturally fall apart.  Unless one is taking care, one is deteriorating.

When one has a foundation within, one is in a position to act.  Admittedly, action is not a given.  Taking care of one’s self across all dimensions gives birth to opportunities and windows where one’s freedom can live.  It is in preparing that we find ourselves in a position to live.

If one wants to really live, selfishly or for the betterment of everyone in the larger story, one starts with one’s self interests.  The Psalmist was candid; “Make a show of how much you love me so the bullies who hate me will stand there slack-jawed, as you, God, gently and powerfully put me back on my feet.” (Psalm 86.17) Some may see the request as selfish.  I hear something between the lines; “I am confident of you (God) so strut your stuff!  Yes, I will be changed from the inside out, but this is who you are and what you do.  Go for it!”  Warning; everything in one’s life changes when one sincerely uses these words.

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