How would you fill in the blank? Self centered (selfish), selfless, self interest (self aware)? At our conference, we were given the task to write synonyms for these 3 categories. It became clear that though selfish and selfless had different attributes, many of the consequences of being selfish or selfless were similar. Both brought about physical, spiritual, and/or mental illness. Although one might become arrogant and the other become a doormat, both seemed to turn in on oneself.
Self interest has been turned (like power) into some sort of "bad word". Thank politicians I guess. Turning to the root of the words, it really more about being aware of self in the midst of others. I loved the synonyms we had in this list: ambitious, balanced, connected, centered, steward, confident, assertive, highly mutually relational* (personal fave), truth and accountability.
In a nutshell,instead of being me me me, or them them them, when you are self interested you are about us us us. We were then asked to get out of our heads and into our guts. (I loved this turn about.)
Your self interests come from who you are, what shaped you, and where you are going. We took who we are and analyzed some of the reasons we are. Your self interest will come from some significant things in your past: from joy, sorrow, family, labels (mom, brother, etc), dreams, aptitude, milestones, culture, faith, ethnicity, generation, orientation, gender. We were given time to think about what really drove us to who we are, and drives us toward what we will be.
We were asked to come up with our epitaph. What is my legacy? What is the one thing I'm going to be remembered for? What's the unique difference I will make having been here? Where's my passion?
(The seminar was held in a beautiful church with stained glass. There were "people on yard sticks" made by children, all around the sanctuary-I thought they were as lovely as the windows)