Years ago, my friend nagged me about reading a book called ‘The Secret’. My reply was, ‘Piss of with your self-help bullshit.’ There was nothing I couldn’t figure out on my own, that some new-age hippy crap was going to work out for me.
But hey, who in their twenties isn’t cocky, brash, and feels sorry for all those older people who have lived, travelled, raised families and know so much less then them?
You’ll probably find this hard to believe, but many ex-strippers surface after hanging up their g-string with a strong sense of spirituality. Why? It’s simple. Because in the strip-club world, we see every detestable characteristic throughout the human race. From men and women alike. Racism, sexism, bias, judgement. Jealousy, envy, greed, entitlement. Night after night, it was much like watching a reality show, where you get to see the ugly motive in each contestant.
And after being a spectator, and witnessing the worst of nature first hand, you rapidly learn everything you don’t want to be. Well, some do. Other ex-strippers I know could take on a Kardashian in gold-medal narcissism.
But could you?
Putting yourself first is not a form of selfishness…in most circumstances. Taking time out for yourself, signing up for that course despite your family responsibilities, painting that picture instead of hanging out with friends, these kinds of things are imperative to the soul. Because if you’re not finding ways to make yourself happy, you’ll find misery. And what good are you to anyone if you’re in turmoil? Finding the light inside yourself is something that tends to shine on other people.
Those that tell you you’re selfish for doing your thing are basically saying; you’re self-centered because you’re doing what you want to do, not what I want you to do. How many times have we been accused of this, without realising the underlying guilt placed on us?
True selfishness stems from universal fatigue. Basically, we get to a point where we don’t want to do another fucking thing for another fucking person. But why is that? Often, it’s because we haven’t taken the inclination to do special or favored acts for ourselves.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Jetting off to the Whitsundays without notice, leaving the toddlers, a clueless partner, and shit-ton of ironing, all because you haven’t yet been selfish in paradise yet is not the way to go about things. But when you decide a drive to the beach with a lonesome walk will sooth your troubles, that’s your spirit calling. And what’s it saying? I need time to not give a shit.
While we’re wrapped up in the tangled clusterfuck of life throwing everything but time our way, selfishness takes over through dissatisfaction. Selfish is whiny, selfish is egotistical, selfish is a brat. And we continue to be over-zealous of our own comfort when we have to strive for it. We all know it’s not fair. When all we want to do is binge-watch Dexter wearing Tim-Tam crumbs, drink wine with the girls until we hurl up everything but our uterus. But no. That infrequently happens. Not with the way work waits like a stalker in an ally, kids can’t cook their own moussaka, responsibility lurks worse than reoccurring herpes. Obligation sucks us into a vortex of bitterness, and so no wonder we’re self-centered when it comes to a smidgen of down-time.
Setting boundaries is spiritual. Not just at work, how far you’re prepared to go for friends, and how much of a nanny/cleaner/chef/supervisor you generally are for family.
Not giving a fuck is spiritual… hear me out. As Mark Manson tells us, where have to know where to give our fucks. And don’t we have enough of them lined up? We’re never going to live without commitments. But there’s a commitment to ourselves that we forget is the most important.
First it starts in the mind and demeanor. The boss or co-worker that isn’t pulling their weight, while adding to yours, doesn’t need to be told to fuck off. But it does need to be mentioned that you’re not their lackey anymore. It’s not selfish to care less about your job, it’s spiritual to partially free your mind from the burden, in order to perform better in the tasks you already have.
It’s not selfish to stop consistently consoling needy friends. Who hasn’t rolled their eyes at yet another phone call, with a buddy that wont fix their own shit, and instead chooses to vent your way rather than face accountability for making change? It’s spiritual to point out their rut and unfair expectations (what the fuck can you do, if they’re not willing to do anything for themselves?). It’s spiritual to tell them the truths they need to think about, and take the pressure off a gloomy relationship. Wouldn’t you rather gain some enthusiasm for that friend when the phone rings again?
It’s not selfish to demand your partner hold the fort while you go chasing dreams or downtime. At least once a week, it can be worked around the busiest of schedules. People grow more hectic and hassled if there isn’t a personal goal or indulgence to look forward to.
The secret is, it all has to be done with kindness rather than defiance. Taking something for yourself is the very thing that will make you want to give back. Your heart will be lighter, full off less fucks, and suddenly on a journey of letting the small shit go.
Selfishness is getting annoyed at the slow person at the check out in front of you. Spirituality is accepting five more minutes wont kill you, and how amazing it is that you both live in a country where all your favourite foods are so ready available.
Selfishness is getting irate at the rude waitress. Spirituality is recognising there’s no reason to give a crap at somebody else’s attitude, and to go easy in retaliation, because she might have recently gone through a break up, or death in the family.
The difference is basically how you consider your needs. And then making the switch to coming from a place of entitlement, to a place of gratitude.
If there’s truth to The Secret novel, we are connected to a universal energy; a force that creates mountains and oceans and dreams, and the universe also thought the planet needed something special as you in it too. Which means the same energy of rainforests and rainbows runs through you. It also means the energy of serial killers and virus runs through you too.
If you make that choice.
Because assholes are selfish. Idealists are spiritual.
Enlighten the fuck up today, spiritual gangster!