BY PAMELA JO BOWMAN – MESA ARIZONA – “The excessive increase of anything causes a reaction in the opposite direction.” — Plato
We seem to live in a world of polar opposites. It is either a question or an answer. Hot or cold, happy or sad, mad or glad, manic or depressed, friend or enemy. Seems like options are being left out of the equation. Options that could and should provide more choices.
Extremes, in my opinion, are bad. Worse than bad, evil. A denial of options, of choices, is not what should be the norm in a free world. Recently I witnessed someone being completely selfless. It allowed the recipient to be completely selfish. Her example did not edify. It reinforced the concept that the receiver was somehow more important, more deserving then the giver. Instead of her generous charitable acts being accepted as the gift it was, it has become the expected norm at the constant expense of the giver.
Being completely selfish is obviously something we know is wrong and bad. How many times have I taught my children that and in turn reinforced the concept to myself? What I never considered is the polar reaction is probably just as bad — selflessness. Now, don’t get all extreme. Just consider, if you will the result of selflessness in this world. Are we not taught that selflessness is noble and good and the highest attribute?
Think about it. In our efforts to be unselfish how does our world interpret and then react to our actions. If we are always available for others and surrender everything for them, then their selfishness and self importance is reinforced. We are actually encouraging the selfishness of others as we deny to ourselves our own self-interest.
Those are not our only options. We do not and should not surrender our lives so others can live theirs. Just the opposite. (How is that for bi-polar! Even in discussion we are preprogrammed to swing from one extreme to the other) We should all live our lives full out. We should all consider what we truly want. And for most everyone that would include acts of charity. Sometimes that might mean time to listen. Other times it might mean time to assist. Sometimes, the person that needs the assist is oneself. We should at least have equal right to our time, resources and energy.
Perhaps what is really in question is our motivation. It should be that you be known to yourself. What motivates you? Is it looking good? Is it fear of rejection? Perhaps, fear of failure? Only you can know your intent. Just why are we so quick to forsake ourselves for others? Something to ponder, don’t you think? The answers might be a tad painful. Just how honest are you with yourself?
Honesty and dishonesty. Disagree or agree. Generosity or miserliness. Always or never. Life or death. Ok, maybe there are some polars that have no options. Unless we consider those living dead lives….hmmm, let’s save that for another day, rainy or sunny?