Posts Tagged ‘selfishness’

As a counselor trainee, I’m not publicly afraid to admit that I myself have seen counselors. I actually prefer the term “therapist” and I drive to the city each week to see mine.

There are many aspects of a therapeutic relationship that can benefit clients. My supervisor says that 50 percent of the clients get “better” just by having someone who listens to them on a regular basis. As counselors, our job is certainly not to tell clients what to do or to tell them on what to focus their attention. We are more of a guide, a facilitator or a teacher in ways. I tell individuals who are considering therapy for what they see as issues that “aren’t a huge deal,” that if there are things causing them distress and dis-ease, then therapy can be a good starting place to work through those concerns.

My current therapist, rather she’s a psychologist, is wonderful. Not only do I feel like I can be 100-percent (or at least 95-percent) myself, I actually benefit from having someone who can point out my faulty thinking while it’s actually happening. Not to mention the way she interjects perspective, calls me out on my “stuff,” and helps push me through the resistance.

But the point of this post isn’t to share all the nitty-gritty details about my personal therapeutic journey. Instead, I want to share with you one thing my therapist went over with me awhile back.

Imagine a scale ranging from 1 percent to 100 percent with selfishness being at the 1-percent mark and selflessness being at the 100-percent mark. Around the 50-percent mark sits self-centeredness. If you’re like I’ve been in the past, and still tend to be, you do many things for others and will go out of your way, putting your needs aside to please others (selflessness). Or perhaps you have always been more likely to take of you and only you because life makes no guarantees and you want what you want (selfishness).

Now, when you hear the word “self-centeredness” you probably think about someone who is so wrapped up in his/her own life that doing anything outside of his/her agenda or things that don’t in some way benefit him/her is never an option. Right. This is a form of self-centeredness. However, the point of this scale example is to learn to balance selflessness with selfishness in an effort to become self-centered (50-percent self, 50-percent others).

This form of self-centeredness is doing two very important things: allowing you to attend to and respect your own needs, opinions and rights while listening to and respecting the needs, opinions and rights of others. VOILA!!!!

In becoming self-centered, we learn not only to respect ourselves, but to love ourselves a bit more by seeing that we too have things we want and need and we can permit ourselves to take care of and express those things.


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