Hi everyone. This is Gizelle Hamilton and today I want to have a chat with you about the difference between self-determination and selfishness. The reason I want to discuss it is because a lot of people when they’re self-determining get told that they’re being selfish and a lot of people are being really selfish and then use self-determination as an excuse or a reason. So I want to make it really clear what the difference is so that you can decide when you’re making a decision whether you’re self-determining or being selfish and so that you can also call other people out on their behaviour.
Now self-determination is all about being in alignment with your soul, meaning your soul is driving the decision that you’re making, meaning that you’re marching to the beat of your own drum and also, that your actions aren’t hurting other people.
So as an example, you might have a teenager who really desperately wants to be a fashion designer or an artist and their parents want them to be a doctor, a lawyer or an accountant. Now the parents want this because they want their child to have a happy life; they want them to have money so that they never go without. So their intention is very good, but maybe the child or the teenager knows that that job is going to be really soul-crushing for them, so they make a decision of self-determination that they’re going to follow their career path of choice. Now when you look at this, the parents might get upset initially, maybe they’ll remain upset about it, but the reality is that it’s actually not affecting their lives; it’s not hurting them. They’re not the ones who are going to be poor if it goes wrong. They’re not the ones who are going to miss out. They’re not going to lose the roof from over their heads. So this self-determination is about marching to the beat of their own drum, following their passions and not hurting anyone else in the process, even if other people are unhappy with their decision.
Now on the other hand, selfishness is doing something that’s all about you but it hurts other people. That is selfish. An example: What’s going on right now. People are madly going out to the stores and they’re buying huge amounts of pasta and rice and toilet paper and canned vegetables, ready for the apocalypse and not having any thought for any other person who might need those goods. Now they might call it self-determination, saying, “But I need to survive!” It’s actually about selfishness. It’s actually about not caring about any other people and the fact that other people might be missing out; other people might go hungry because of their actions.
I always think of a story that my Nonno told me… He was a child growing up in the Great Depression in a village in northern Italy. He was one of 18 children, meaning that his parents had to feed themselves, plus 18 children – 20 in total – and they’d had very little food like everyone else in Europe at the time and every night his mother would invite around children – other children from the village – and feed them as well, even though there wasn’t enough for their own children. And my Nonno questioned her on it, he said, “We’re so hungry Mum! Why are you inviting around other people? There isn’t enough food for us!” And she said, “I have an obligation. We all have an obligation. We have something, whereas they’ve got absolutely nothing. We have an obligation to help them. We have an obligation to feed them.”
And I feel like that’s an attitude we seem to have lost. The world has gone mad… When you’re making a decision think about other people. Have compassion for the world.
So, 100% march to the beat of your own drum, follow your soul’s passion, but don’t hurt anyone else in the process and have a thought for other people. So when you’re making a decision and you want to work out whether you’re self-determining or whether you’re being selfish, I want you to go, “Is this a soul calling or is this a fear-based decision?” because if it’s fear date based it’s probably selfish. And then go, “Is my decision hurting anyone else?” It might upset other people, but are they actually going to be damaged by this or do they just not like it? If it’s a decision that other people don’t like, but it really is the soul’s calling, then that’s self-determination. If it’s a decision that’s based in fear or that hurts other people with what you’re doing, then that’s selfishness.
So, start to have a think about the decisions of other people around you and the decisions that you’re making and this hopefully will help you to decide, “Am I being selfish or not?” particularly if other people are calling you out as being selfish. Or “Am I actually self-determining and following the calling of my soul?”
I hope this has been helpful, and everyone, during these tricky times please be kind to each other and if someone is going without or having a hard time and you have the capacity to help them, remember my Bisnonna (my great-grandmother). You have an obligation to help other people who have nothing.
Blessings to you all and have a great day!