When should I think I am great?
When should I think of myself first and when should I not?
When am I selfish? When do I harm myself with my selflessness? In this post, we address these questions. Because this text is about the difference between self-love and selfishness, which no book I know has described better than
Erich Fromm: The art of loving
The stewardesses' safety instructions at the beginning of every flight give us a good example of self-love. This rehearsed show, which is almost ready for the stage, is usually ignored by us, even though it can save lives and not only on the plane.
I have a little trick to keep my attention up during the show: I make sure that my seat is in the aisle and that I am in a place where a stewardess is doing her show. While she is preparing her show equipment, I look at her with a broad smile and tell her that I have secured a place near her and that I am now looking forward to the best show of my life. As soon as she starts, I follow her every move very carefully. In the end, I beam at her and tell her what a fantastic job she did and that she didn't let me down. The last time I did that, the stewardess was not only happy, I also had the difficult impression that I received better service than the people who were sitting next to me. That's why I will continue to use this trick in the future and it will probably work until this little show is a thing of the past thanks to digitization.
But back to the topic: When this wonderful stewardess show is about explaining the breathing masks, there is always the hint to take care of your own breathing mask first. Only when one's own breathing is ensured should one make sure that the child or the unconscious next to us is also doing well.
In this order lies a key element of self-love. Only when we are doing well can we ensure that the people around us are also doing well. Only when we love ourselves can we love the people around us.
What would happen if we ignored our breathing mask and only cared about the people sitting next to us? Well, with a bit of bad luck, we would suffocate and if the mask slipped off the unconscious person's face due to turbulence, he too would suffocate. The little child next to us would have to sit next to two dead people and if he survived the trauma would be even worse than if we could have comforted him. Our selflessness at this point would do maximum damage.
Now let's look at the other extreme: Selfishness doesn't make sense in this situation either. Sure, we can pull on all breathing masks around us, but since we only have one nose, that makes little sense and we would definitely attract the anger of many people because we have harmed others without doing anything positive for ourselves win.
However, if we follow the stewardess' guidance and take care of ourselves first and then our neighbor, we will ensure that we have the best possible chance of surviving this situation.
Whoever wants to be loved is not loved
Self-love, as this example shows, has nothing to do with selfishness. It took me many years of my life to understand that. I can well remember the time when I myself felt that I had no value.
During this time it was important to me what others thought of me. I did a lot to get recognition. The bad thing about this pursuit was that the more I tried, the more I was ignored. I was desperate because I only thought if someone liked me and saw something in me, I would be happy.
Anyone who has books doesn't need people
At some point, however, I got the feeling that people were talking about me behind my back. Now the thread of patience broke. Shouldn't the whole world slip down my back for a while? I finally gave up trying to win friends and recognition in this way. I can do whatever they can, I thought, and ran to my father and asked him for great book recommendations.
He gave it to me and I began to dive into this world for a while. I strolled through Europe with Mark Twain, traveled around the world with Jule Verne in 80 days, mourned the wolf blood and enjoyed my quiet new friends, because they were always friendly and I could feel and learn with them and no one judged me.
These books put my world in order and with it me. I started to like myself. And now something amazing happened: the world started to like me. Little by little I made friends. Okay, well, others made friends with me, because this girl who always carried a book with her was so unusual that there were a few people who wanted to know what she was actually reading. And so they asked me this question and we started talking. We talked about God and the world and made friends and I never wondered again if the other person likes me.
You are unique and perfect as you are
I've come a long and painful way to learn that the world cannot love me until I love myself. I learned to love my forgetfulness because it motivated me to write. I'm not angry about my thighs, I'm happy that my genes have given me such a wide mouth that lets me say what I think.
Hence my tip to you: Concentrate on your strengths! Don't ask yourself what you can change about your thighs, but concentrate on the shine in your eyes that can enchant people. Because you are great as you are. You are unique as you are. And you are clearly a winner: after all, your sperm has won a race against a few million others. So don't sacrifice yourself to make others love you. Start loving yourself and enjoy what happens then. I am sure that you will be pleasantly surprised.
The story I told you was almost 20 years ago. Since then I have developed myself further and use my idiosyncrasies in a very special way. Since I have little time, I can maintain close contact with a few people. That is why it is an ingenious selection criterion for me to simply be 100% me. If my counterpart doesn't like that because I'm too crazy, then we won't see each other again and that's a good thing. Because that way I have more time for people who are just as crazy as me. And with these people by my side, I am sure that we can turn the world off its hinges. Together we can ensure that we use the potential that our time offers us and use it in such a way that it has a positive impact in the world.
If after this post you have the feeling that you are one of these people, I look forward to your ideas on how we can improve the world sustainably. And now let's start the day and unhinge the world, because who but us can do it?
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