On Selflessness

By Anon.

People often come to me with their problems. In some ways, this is wonderful; people trust you with really personal things that they don’t tell other people. You feel honoured to have earned this kind of trust. But sometimes, when this happens too much, it becomes a burden. You start to realise that people are taking advantage of the fact you’re a good listener, and you’re almost reduced to an ear; a body part, void of your own problems and failings. You realise that no one ever asks you how you are. And how can you possibly have the time to deal with your own problems when you’re busy solving other peoples’? Eventually, it all kind of mounts up inside you… your problems, other peoples’ problems, various solutions. And a cataclysmic chemical reaction can happen – one false element and you will blow. This did happen. I blew. And, even when I did decide to say my mind, I felt bad doing so – I felt like I was a horrible person, because in telling people how I felt, I was probably hurting their feelings. What’s up with that? There is such thing as being too selfless, and I’m pretty sure I suffer from it.

As defined by Oxford Dictionary, being selfless means to be “concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own; unselfish”. In Friends, Phoebe spends a whole episode trying to prove that she is a selfless individual, whilst Joey argues that no act can be selfless. This was seemingly a very rare moment of wisdom for Joey. In being selfless, we feel proud, and happy that we have helped another. But we also feel sad, because we can’t really help ourselves. So, if you’re that person who relates to this, maybe, for one moment, stop being an ear, and find your tongue. And if you can’t relate to this, then find someone who does and let them cry on your shoulder for once.