I’ve always been fascinated by psychology and understanding human behavior. Let’s look at some basic ideas. The Webster dictionary defines the self as: the entire person of an individual; the union of elements (as body, emotions, thoughts, and sensations) that constitute the identity of a person. Becoming a parent is like taking a crash course in psychology as you try to understand how to guide this new unique little person who has joined your family. A new baby is demanding and dependent on his or her parents for 24/7 care. Some adult children continue to be co-dependent on others. They rely on others to enable them to continue their misbehaviors. Ever wonder why?
The psychologist Abraham Maslow developed a model of the hierarchy of human needs. First is the need for physical comfort: food, water, sleep and warmth. When those needs are met, the growing child moves to the next level of needs which are safety and security; followed by social needs: belonging, love and affection; then esteem needs: personal worth, social recognition and accomplishment. Last of all are the self actualizing needs: personal growth and fulfilling one’s potential.
It’s a learning process and sometimes individuals get stopped in a lower stage of development. A selfish person is someone who is completely wrapped up in his or her own little world ignoring others’ needs. Many individuals in our society fall into this category including toddlers, teens and needy adults. Some Hollywood stars are examples of this with their outrageous misbehaviors and not wanting to face the consequences. They feel the world revolves around them. Sadly, selfish people are seldom happy as their demands for fulfillment and attention are never met. Their conversations are always about themselves with little interest in others. It’s quite draining to try to interact with such a person.
No man is an island. We all live in communal groups: families, churches, society, etc. It takes sensitivity to understand how one’s actions affect others. It’s easy to get caught up in co-dependent relationships with self-centered individuals who want to avoid the consequences of their own misbehavior––especially if it’s your kinfolk or children involved. You don’t have to carry anyone’s problems on your own shoulders. Learning to give a listening ear and supporting heart is more important than solving the problems for everyone at your own expense and personal growth or self actualization. NEXT TIME: Make Lemonade