Selfish or Selfless

It has been in my mind more recently as of late, that people have become more selfish. I will not shy away and say that I am perfect and am never selfish, as I most certainly can be. We all want what is best for ourselves, but at what point is it that we sacrifice of other’s well being for our own? 

We live in a community where we must interact with with one another, coexist, yet we don’t seem to care about the others unless it benefits us. We rarely see stories on the tv of people who are selfless, but when we do, it’s big news. When did this start to become news worthy? Why should being a good person, selfless, and helpful to others, need to be paraded on the tv? Does it really happen that infrequently that we must parade it around to temp people to do it selfishly for recognition?

For my family, friends, and the occasional stranger, I will go out of my way to help them with anything that they need help with. Most times that I offer help, I am rejected and I go on my way. 

Another gym story:

I am reminded of a Friday afternoon recently where I have just finished my workout. I head into the locker room to get my flip flops on for the sauna and as I round the corner, a man in a wheelchair comes into view. He is wet from a shower, naked and appears to be in his 70s. He is just sitting there, stating into his locker. I am wondering if he needs help, but I dismiss the idea of asking him and open my locker. It is then that I notice his left leg is amputated just above his knee.

I get my flip flops on head to the steam room. I think to myself that I should offer help and that I’m a terrible person if I don’t, but I feel too afraid at the same time. Many thoughts and excuses flood my head telling me “No”. The fear wins and I head out as planned. 

He is no longer in my mind as I am now in a hurry to finish my time in the sauna and steam room, then to shower and leave so I can meet up with my friend for dinner and a night out. As I get back into the locker room to undress for my shower, I come to find that the man is still there in his wheelchair and having made very little progress. I still feel bad for him, so finally, regardless of all of my excuses and thoughts I ask if he needs help. He declined. 

Part of me is relieved and part of me wonders if it was how I approached him. I didn’t tell him I work in the medical field and can help him if he needs, but I did offer at the very least. Since he declined, I get my towel and head to the shower. I still feel bad, but he did decline after all so I shouldn’t press the issue. It isn’t my place to be offended or feel bad once declined. I did what I could. So with that, I dress and leave. 

Why was I so relieved he didn’t need help? Was it because of the gray area in my job where if he got injured I could be sued just because of my medical training? Probably. Why was I so scared to ask in the first place? Why did I think so hard on deciding whether or not to help this gentleman? Would you have done the same? 

Another story: 

I had just finished working 8 hours and a few of my co-workers wanted to go hang out. Well, being the gayness that I am, I needed an outfit. Heaven forbid I go out in my work clothes which were really street clothes anyway. I headed to Target, one of my favorite stores. As I pull into my spot, I observe the area around me as it is downtown on Broadway, a little bit of a shady area. 

All I see around is a little old lady, who looked to be in her 80s, walking to her car pushing a heavy cart. She got a huge bag of dog food in the cart, goodness knows how she actually got it in there! I parked, and as I was walking toward the store, I saw her pop the trunk of her little old Queensland. 

Without a second thought I stopped and asked if she needed help. She blessed me (which seared my evil homosexual soul) and thanked me multiple times as I picked up the heavy bag and put it in the car. I said “No thanks necessary” but I’m sure it meant the world to her. 

This happened 5-6 years ago and I still remember how happy and thankful she was to this day. 

This experience was purely intended to help her without any want of recognition or reward. I share this as an example of the things we can do to help others, no expectations, no rewards as the deed in itself is purely the reward. 

I feel these days, that fear keeps us from doing everything we want to do. Whether it’s being selfless, adventurous, or anything else you could imagine that would prevent you from doing something. The world would be a better place if people were more selfless and less selfish. 

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