Selfishness Leads to Misery

“The more you make this world about you, the more miserable you will be.”

This is a quote by a well-known pastor named Matt Chandler. I’m not going to get into the spiritual side of his message, but rather just dig into this quote. I’ve been pondering it since I heard it and I believe it makes a lot of sense.

I feel like upon first looking at this quote, you may disagree. As moms, we’re always tired and feel like we are always taking care of others. Surely we’re not selfish. We need MORE self-care, not less.

So let me clarify. Let’s not confuse self-care with self-absorption or selfishness.

I’ve mentioned in a past blog the common motto that you have to secure your own oxygen mask before helping others. This is self-care. It’s making sure that we are keeping ourselves healthy: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, in order to better take care of our families.

Selfishness or self-absorption is much different than self-care. And as much as I want to believe I’m selfless as a mom, I know that I have a fair amount of selfishness in me.

It’s true–I want things to go my way. I want my husband to agree with me and go along with my plans. I want my kids to do what I say. The fact is we tend to think about how the world affects our lives more often than we maybe realize.

Now, how does that make us more miserable? Our expectations are usually impossible to meet.

I don’t know about you, but my husband thinks differently than I do and is often on a completely different wavelength than me. If I expect him to do everything that makes ME happy, I’m going to be sorely disappointed. He certainly tries, but he is not a perfect person. Plus he can be selfish just like I can. And my kids? I’m dreaming if I think they’re going to do everything I say. If everyone in the family wants everything to be about them, nobody is getting their way.

If I make everything about me, I am going to be severely let down.

What can we do instead?

Encourage your family (and especially yourself) to put others first. Imagine if every person in your house was working to love and serve everyone else in the house. How much more love and joy would there be in that?

Selfishness Leads to Misery

Start with your family and then work out into your school, workplace, church, community, and so on. I’m always finding that putting others above myself ends up being just as much a blessing to me as it is to the person I’m showing favor to.

I like the beginning quote, but I’d like to end with the opposite, positive spin:

The more you make this world about others, the more joy you will have.

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Marla is a lifelong Cedar Rapidian who met her husband, Shawn, at the local Dairy Queen in 2005 and married him in 2009. They have three beautiful and spunky daughters (8, 5, 3) who keep them on their toes. Marla is a stay at home mom who spends very little time at home. She loves children and has spent the last 8 years doing in-home daycare and spent 5 years doing foster care. Marla is an adoptive parent, a homeschooling mom, and a very active member of her local church. In whatever free time she can find, Marla enjoys reading a good love story or watching a chick flick.


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