How "SELFISH" are you? Why?

Philippines
April 24, 2008 9:23am CST
This post may be a bit disjointed, as I am a bit upset. Please bear with me. I am a "mild" narcissist (many of my friends and even family members tell me this). Although my condition is not enough to be diagnosed as a disease, I find that it does pose a problem with my "social intercation" at times.Even I know this to be the truth. At one point, I was "estranged" from one or two family members due to my tendency to "think of myself first". I have switched jobs, because I also get bored easily. I have a very,very low tolerance for tedium. And this tendency upsets my parents greatly (as you know, the 'culture' in the Philippines is that when the children comes of age, it is almost a "sacred" duty to help out and provide for the parents; I am quite ok with this, but not at the expense of my personal happiness.) This has been my struggle for years now, my choice of jobs - although a bit high-paying - has left me depressed, feeling trapped and unhappy. The job I would like - although the pay is just minimum - is to work in a bookstore and continue with freelance portraiture. But as I need to adhere to the image of the "good daughter" (at least, to recieve minimum flak from my family), and not completely alienate those I am supposed to love. Basically, I am torn between pleasing them and finding a self-fulfilling career. As much as I wish to completely break out, I still feel guilty. When I analyze the source of this "selfishness", I had experiences when I was younger, which thought me that I must protect and defend myself at all costs as no one can be counted upon to do this. I have always been an individualist even at an early age. Is this wrong? I don't think so, but... Sorry about rambling. I quit my job today (because I swear, if I have to repeat my speil for the nth time, I work in a call centre - I'm going to either jump from the nearest high-rise or beat myself to death) and my dad seems upset about it. He seems to lament my lack of focus.However, when I try to explain my side, I get the "you are so selfish" answer. What do you guys think? How about you're experiences?
5 people like this
11 responses
• United States
25 Apr 08
How selfish am I? Just now, at the age of 43, I am "selfish" enough to finally consider my wishes to be important. It sounds like you may be on the right track to get there much sooner than I did. I hope you stay on this path. It isn't wrong for you to follow your passion. You can't live your loved ones lives for them and they can't live yours for you. You say your father laments your lack of focus as you have quit a job you didn't want in the first place. Think about the irony of this. You took a job to make them happy...and now when you quit to make yourself happy you "lack focus". It isn't focus you lack. You seem to know exactly what you want. What you lack is the knowledge that you have every right to HAVE it. Go for your dream, or you will be that tired old lady weeping with regret. Good luck.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Apr 08
Well said Em!
• Philippines
28 Apr 08
thanks for the response. I'm actually in the process of finding a new job, I sent resumes to several major bookstores. :D I'm quite happy. I have yet to talk to my parents about it. But it's a start, instead of the mind-numbing call centre job, I'm doing something I love for once. :D
@lonewolfnan (4367)
• Canada
24 Apr 08
It sounds like you know who you are and what you want out of life.This may not be popular with your current friends or your family,but it IS your life.How often have you heard to take care of yourself first or you will not be able to help others?As for culturally,remember other cultures say the woman must walk behind the man.Does this still make sense?And what happens if your artistical abilities become comercially successful and you make MORE money then at what you do now??Living in a "what if" world with regrets may be ok for some,but others want to live now. Good luck with your decisions.
• Philippines
24 Apr 08
Thank you so much for the response and support. Whenever I mention my "artistic" inclinations, I get the "there is no money in portraits" response. I actually feel a twinge of envy for my equally artistic best friend, who has the full support and backing of his parents. It's a given that they are considerably better off than us, thus he does not need to work 24/7. But I don't think that should matter. I sometimes imagine myself as an old lady, retired, has rheumy hands that can no longer hold a pencil, full of regrets, thinking about what I should have done with my life. It's a sad picture, isn't it? Come to think of it, I haven't done a single portrait since I started this awful job. I always get home bone-tired. I feel like I am zombie at times. You are right,I must do something about this now or regret it later. thanks!
1 person likes this
• Canada
24 Apr 08
You are welcome and it sounds like you know what direction you want to go towards and now have to have the fight of the head over the heart.Do what is best for YOU and hopefully someday we will see some of your work.
• China
25 Apr 08
I agree with lone wolfnan too. You do know who you are and what you want. I think you are more mature than other people at your age. Maybe you have spent a considerable piece of time to think of your life. Thus you have that conclusion. I personally do not think you are selfish. Maybe in some way you are, but we all are. As a result, that doesn't matters that much. I suppose you are just struggling from being youself and being that ideal girl of the family. Anyway, I encourage you to live your own life. Afterall, it's your life. My point is whatever decision I make, I'll never let myself feel regreted. I am trying to live a better life as well. Hopefully, it will be more colorful for me in the near future. Good luck to you. Just be joyful:-)
1 person likes this
@roniroxas (10576)
• Philippines
25 Apr 08
i am a parent of 4 children, my children are all teens and so far i havent experience something like this. for me this is a big issue. it is not just because you are selfish. this should be dealed by all the members of the family, sti down and talked about it. i mean who else would help you but them. i have a daugther who easily gets angry but slowly she is now learning to control that. i know you can control this by analyzing but of course you need your family to be supportive of you. it is very hurting for a child to not even have anybody to depend on when they are much younger. you became what you are now maybe because of some experience when you were younger. your family needs to support you. un ang hirap sa pamilyang pinoy, parents force their chidldren to support them so we ended up having a job that is high paying but not fulfilling. i would love to have a high paying job but not fulfilling because i am a single mom of four children. it is my obligation to feed them, send them to school and put roof on their heads. if they are matured enough to have a job that they want i will tell them to have something that would make them complete. something that they will feel fulfilled and contented. parents can not change who we are they just have to be supportive on what we want to be. if we became bad then that is the time they have to step in and do some actions. i wish you can talk to your family on what you are feeling right now.
@roniroxas (10576)
• Philippines
26 Apr 08
thats a good idea chris, write it down in a letter. pour yourself out on the letter. that would be a good idea. what you cant say to them face to face then you can write it down. thats more easier. it will save you the embarassment. it will save her parents embarassment too. they might take it seriously rather than ranting about it. i just hope the whole family can find solution to this.
• Philippines
28 Apr 08
thanks for sharing your opinion. I might be going home for the weekend, so there's a chance we can sit down and talk about it (or I might go for the letter idea, because there's a chance that any talking will escalate into a crying and shouting match, like before). Then everyone will feel guilty, say sorry etc., without really resolving anything. Sometimes, it's hard to make one another understand the differing points of view. As for my experience when I was younger, I won't elaborate it, but it sort felt like a betrayal by my parents (my dad mostly, because you see, I really looked up to him, and then you find out that you cant really depend on him at that time...of course, he's only human, that I understand. That is why I swore I'll never have kids, if I can't take care of them properly). So there, not to be dramatic. But that's it. I don't hate my parents, but I'm just a bit disappointed.
@secretbear (19464)
• Philippines
7 May 08
i don't think there's nothing wrong with finding a job that makes you happy hitomi. i agree when you said that it is our duty to help our parents when we finally land a job, but it is also our duty to ourselves to do things that would make us fulfilled. you are not being selfish. you're just being true to yourself. and i'm sorry but i have to say this, your parents, especially your father is the one that's acting selfish. or maybe he isn't just very particular about self-fulfillment and he has a strong sense of family responsibilities towards each other. he was probably a dutiful son to his parents before and he wants his children to be the same. i think, what you can do is don't get tired of explaining to your parents that you just want to be happy with a job and that you aren't forgetting their duties to them. you just want to hit two birds in one stone and not just either of it. tell them you're just being fair to yourself and you are hoping that they would be fair to you too. i salute you on resigning from your work with the reason that you are not happy with it. ganbatte hitomi! good luck to you!
• Philippines
9 May 08
hello! thanks for the response. You are right, my parents are "dutiful children", they both took care of my grandparents when they got older and provided for them when they were younger.;) I tried explaining to them a couple of days ago, at least there's some "progress" in their recation. :) thanks, I hope everything works out for me, in the future. I have several job options at the moment and all of them seems to be suitable for me. :) Arigatou!
1 person likes this
@secretbear (19464)
• Philippines
10 May 08
that's good to hear hitomi. i'm sure after some time they will finally realize that everything shouldn't be done only for their sake and be easy on you. i really admire your guts for resigning from a high-paying job for the sole reason that you are not happy with it. i hope you'll find a new job soon that you will be happy with.
@catmint (628)
• Singapore
25 Apr 08
I hope you are not here to look for support because what I am going to say is not going to go down smoothly. Humans are selfish creatures since the beginning of time, but humans are also on the top of the food chain and should be able to think. Perhaps one question you should ask yourself is do you think when you were a young child your parents were in jobs they simply adore or are they working so you can be fed, clothed and educated? What everyone does in their jobs is monotonous, life itself is a series of montonous actions. Even if you land yourself that perfect job, you are also going to end up doing certain actions over and over again. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying you should stick to a job you hate. Neither am I saying you should pursue your dreams. But dreams are dreams till they become something concrete, that's when it brings you the sense of achievement and I believe you do want to achieve in your passion. You are living, breathing person with basic needs, and you have a family who have basic needs. Until such a day when your dream turns into a reality that can sustain you, dreams need to run side by side with the harsh reality of the present. Maybe you feel you are sacrificing for a unworthy cause now but do come back to earth once in a while. Fight for a balance in life, find a job that can sustain your life and allow you the time and freedom to pursue your dream. I am sure you can multi-task if you are passionate enough. No one said pursuing dreams is easy. Your father may be harsh, but parents are always worrying about how their children are going to survive when they are gone, so try and understand what he is really saying. And before you say "That's easy for you to say!" I am living a life exactly like yours. I do not have a choice, if I want to keep my family and myself alive, I need to work and give up my dreams of being a starving photographer. I hope you are able to achieve a balance and live the life you really want. Good luck!
• Philippines
28 Apr 08
Thanks for the opinion. :D Well, I'm trying to find that balance at the meoment. Cheers!
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
24 Apr 08
I know it's not polite to criticize people I don't even know...but to me, your family sounds incredibly selfish. Why would they want you to be unhappy just to fullfill some status quo they have set for you. They are the ones that should learn to let go of their expectations for you so you can fullfill your dreams and desires. Being happy and satisfied is much more important than money or status. It is not selfish to follow your heart. "The job I would like - although the pay is just minimum - is to work in a bookstore" -Sure as an employee the pay probably will be low but you will be able to gain experience and learn about the business...and someday you could be a store owner. In my opinion owning your own business is something to be proud of. And you never know what your freelance work could do for you if you just give yourself enough time to focus on it. You sound like a strong woman who knows what she wants in life and there is nothing wrong with that. I wish you luck on whatever life brings your way!
@roniroxas (10576)
• Philippines
25 Apr 08
i agree with you foxy. this is a big issue. she wont be like this if the parents are 100% supporting on what she wants to be. i wish the whole family can sit down and talk about this. this is not just her being selfish it is the whole family being selfish.
@snowy22315 (51238)
• United States
26 Apr 08
It sounds to me like your parents are being the selfish ones by trying to put you in a little box, and not letting you be who your are. Although being parents, They probably think they are looking out for your welfare by encouraging you to make as much money as possible. It sounds more like they want you to help support them however. My parents have never had much to say about my career choices and I like it that way.
@ratyz5 (7829)
• Philippines
26 Apr 08
Well, its you whose going to do all the toil anyway and you can find other way to be that dependable daughter. You might as well be satisfied with what you would be doing, since your the one whose gonna go through it and not those that label you as being selfish, than to go on like a machine just because of that "sacred" duty which can be comaparable to purpose. That would be aimless for me. Selfish? We all are selfish when you count to think of it. Even when you think that your helping others, we know that we'll still get something from the act of charity. It sometimes makes us feel good to help others, and why wouldn't we want to feel glad? We want to feel good so we help others. Isn't that a bit selfish as well? Even I can say the same things to Saints. Others tell you that you are being selfish for being who you are? They are selfish too in the case that they want you to conform to a norm that is generic and readily acceptable. Ignoring your innate personality just not to be labeled "selfish?" Well, if you want to feel good by being readily accepted but through pretence? Then again, if everybody can just tolerate others.. Once I really felt like I wish I did things by the book. By that, I thought that it would be so convenient if things were already well set. I'd just follow through but, I eventually gotten over that idea ever since I realized that I could make my choice. Sure, I maybe selfish for the things I have done right up to now but, I find it better than to be generic and be among the typical. Well, focus isn't bad but, we shouldn't be always like that 'cause, if we do, we'll miss out so much from a big picture.
@cortjo73 (6500)
• United States
25 Apr 08
Money is a necessary evil in life. It is important but, as the term goes, "Money can't buy happiness" and, if you career makes you unhappy, it actually isn't healthy either. I don't really feel that you are being selfish. It isn't fair for your parents to put that kind of pressure on you while forcing you to sacrifice your healthy happiness. Strive for that bookstore and freelance portraiture. Perhaps open your own bookstore where you can incorporate freelance portraiture into your very own owned and operated bookstore. no one should be forced to stay in a job that doesn't fulfill them and makes them unhappy. The only thing I think you should have done was stay in it until you had another job lined up as you never know how long it will take to get a new job. But, if you have been careful with your money, then perhaps you have some leeway before your money starts to run out. Either way, I hope you find your happiness. A life sucking job is not good for you, your health, happiness or well-being so, I think you did the right thing by getting out and sort of forcing you to find the right job for you instead of settling for something just because it pays well.
@sid556 (31005)
• United States
25 Apr 08
Actually you don't sound even slightly narcissist or selfish. you sound as if you just want to live the one and only life you have while you have it. your feelings are very normal. I think perhaps it is more your culture that is causing the conflict. Here in the US, children are expected to be independent and not rely on parents when they come of age. It is good to take care of the parents when they become old and unable to care for themselves but many here don't even do that. I have 3 grown children and none of them takes care of me nor do I expect them to. One has moved back home temporarily and I charge her a low rent so that she can save and get back on her feet. I don't want to advise you to go against your upbringing but I really don't think I could live your life without rebelling or becoming resentful. I think people that are happy in what they are doing in their lives are much more beneficial to those around them.
@kun2349 (23475)
• Singapore
25 Apr 08
Most ple are selfish.. But depending on how selfish they are to different things.. Culture can be broken away and not one's character.. Do wat u like, and do wat makes u happy, even the pay is just minimun for u and your family, den u give them more, have lesser for yourself, if u are happy with your job, u think money will be any much difference to u?? I dun think so.. U are not selfish here, instead, u are pursuiting your own interest and happiness.. Wat they think can work for u, might not work for u in real.. Because they are not u.. Selfish is used to a person when they dun understand a person.. Maybe it will be harsh to your parents, but maybe u can try to ask them, does they know wat u really want in life?? ANd u not a teenager anymore, time and age is not on your side.. Maybe they will understand from that..