Selfish

I mentioned a few posts below that having an internal sense of worth can make people a bit selfish – my own selfishness is something I’ve discussed quite a bit with J (along with the semantic differences between selfishness and being self-centred, the long winter nights fly by in our house).

I’m pretty good at random acts of kindness. I give up seats, carry bags, let old women with one tin of cat food cut in front of me in the supermarket queue.

I never thought about it before last night, but I think I see these situations as neutral to me, and as they are positive to someone else it seems natural to act in favour of net positivity.

But in situations where one outcome is positive for me while the other is personally negative, I find it very difficult to act against my own interest – even when a negative outcome for me could prevent me hurting someone I care about.

I’m talking (for the slow readers) about infidelity.

In terms of relationships and cheating, I’ve pretty much always done whatever I’ve wanted.

I’ve never been caught in the act, so most of the time my partner du jour has been unaware of the situation. On the occasions when my consciousness has moved me to confess, I’ve always been forgiven.

The upshot of this is that acting in my own interest feels like a consequence-free entitlement (did I mention I’m quite spoilt?!)

Now I’m noticing that when J and I have conflicting wants, I’m not able to simply forge ahead in a selfish fashion.

He already has the distinction of being someone I’ve never lied to, but we’ve both slipped up in the past – doing things we know the other wouldn’t really sanction, under cover of the ‘confess & repent’ clause.

But these days, I no longer feel able to pursue my own interests if I know they go against Jonty’s, despite being confident (hopeful) that the fallout could be managed.

It’s scary that it’s taken 28 years of life and seven years of this relationship before I’ve consciously felt able to act counter to my own desires for the sake of another person.

And even now it still makes me sulky. Prolly no sainthood on the cards…

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