Sunday, August 2, 2009

Lessons on selfishness

I wasn't going to go to Relief Society today...

But I did.

And guess what the lesson was on: Yep! Selfishness. We started by talking about how to lose all your friends: Frown, Be Grumpy and Cranky all the time, Never share, Whine about everything, Tattle, etc.

And immediately my brain was spinning with how much I suck... I don't smile all the time, in fact I cry and frown a lot. I am grumpy and cranky way more than any one person should be, I have so much, and I don't share it all (the thought that came to my mind was our cars, my job, and food...), and I whine... I talk about my problems, I tell people I am in pain, I suck! And finally, I have told people about abuse. I should have kept those things to myself. No one wants to listen to a tattle-tale... and I am just a 30 year old tattle-tale!

I prayed. I told the Lord how I wasn't sure this was where I needed to be, but I was there for Melissa. Help me to get something good out of the lesson, and if nothing else, help me survive it.

And then, I thought of all of the people I feel angry at. I am angry at them for being selfish. I feel angry at them for only thinking of themselves. I would really like some of those people to hear this lesson and to understand what they are doing. Maybe I shouldn't be angry that they are teaching this... there are truly people who need to hear this.

And then I felt guilty. SOOOO guilty. We are told to take the lessons and apply them to our own lives, not to think about how much I wish this person or that person was here to listen... I AM SO SELFISH AND EVIL! I HATE MYSELF!!!

At this point Rachael pulled out a quote by James E. Faust.
"Many years ago I was in a professional association with two older, more experienced men. We had been friends for many years and found it mutually beneficial to help one another. One day, one associate sought our help on a complex matter. As soon as the issue had been explained, the first thing the other associate said was, “What’s in it for me?” When his old friend responded so selfishly, I saw the look of pain and disappointment on the face of the one who had invited our help. The relationship between the two was never quite the same after that. Our self-serving friend did not prosper, as his selfishness soon eclipsed his considerable gifts, talents, and qualities. Unfortunately, one of the curses of the world today is encapsulated in this selfish response, “What’s in it for me?”
And then I knew the definition of selfishness: Selfishness is asking, "What's in it for me?" NOT, "That will hurt me, so I won't do it." It may result in the same final action, but selfishness is truly about our hearts, our motivation, and only I can know if I am being selfish or not.

A few weeks ago, I came up with my own definition:
Unselfish - putting what the Lord wants for us ahead of what we want for us, or what others want for us...

Rachael said something similar, but she breezed right over it. I wanted to point out to her what she had just said. By that definition, sometimes NOT giving other people what we want to give them is actually far more selfish than giving. I wish I would have said it, but I didn't... The lesson moved on.

The end of the lesson was harder on me... They talked about sharing everything we have, serving others, making sacrifices for others, and putting the needs of others first. All of which sent my head spinning, sent me back to times with Larry, and caused some minor freakouts.

Although this lesson was hard, and I am currently having some brain malfunctions... I can also tell I am different. If I would have heard this lesson six months ago... I can't even imagine how it would have worked out. I don't think I could have survived it.


  1. There is never shame or selfishness to share your story. What Jen has to give can only bless the ears who hear it... We all do "selfish" things and get caught in "selfish moments" but YOU are not selfish.. Love

  2. You are definitely not selfish. . . I know this from experience. . . you're always there for me. I also see no connection between tough feelings and being selfish - they make you real. I love you!

  3. I really like your definition of selfishness. If we are always doing the will of the Lord we'll never worry about whether we're being selfish. Ultimately, he knows what is best for every individual and following his will, will bring out the best for everyone.