Two weeks ago I was called “selfless”. That got me thinking. I’ve always been the person who was strong for other people, always ready to do something or fix something for everybody else. My aunt died when I was seventeen, and my uncle observed how “stable” I was and how cool it was that at seventeen, I was able to “be strong for everyone else”. Somehow, that is who I’ve always been. It hasn’t changed to this day, and I am always looking for ways to do things for other people. I live with my husband and daughter in a small two bedroom house, but always eager to help, I’ve offered for my brother and his son to live with us and for a different brother, his wife, and their son to stay with us, at different times.
I used to be the friend who would spend money, even though she really didn’t have it, to make other people’s lives easier. I would change my plans, or keep a full day open for the small possibility that a friend may need a ride sometime that day, even if they weren’t even sure yet.
I’ve always enjoyed helping other people, even if it was just helping with something small. So when I was told that I was “selfless” and “needed time to focus on [me] and relax for [me], I wasn’t able to argue with it. I knew that it was true, but I’m still not really sure of how to do that. For one thing, I have a two-year old, that in itself doesn’t really leave time to focus on me, and I’m alright with that. As a wife and a mother, I consider it to be my job to be here for my husband and daughter. It’s just what I’m “supposed to do.”
I guess that I’m afraid of not knowing where the line is between selfless, and selfish. If I make time, and take time for “me”, will I lose track of where that line is? Will I notice it when I am getting close, or will I cross it unknowingly? Why can’t doing for others count as doing something for me? Does it? If it makes me feel good, and I am enjoying it, is it still “selfless?”