I heard this thought the other day, and I found it pretty interesting. Things may get serious here for a minute so brace yourself.
We are born with two innate desires within us. The first is to take care of ourselves and to put ourselves first. The second being to exist within a community, to have relationships, to love, and to put others ahead of ourselves. After all “the first will be last and the last will be first.”
Clearly these two desires directly contradict one another. How can we put ourselves first but yet put others first?
There is no denying the fact that both of these desires exist within us. In my conquest to be more like Jesus I could ignore the first desire. I could refuse the fact that it is not within me to want to better myself, and to put myself first. I will do this so that I am “only living for others.” This is an impossible feat. I believe that if one is to ignore the first desire then they are being unfair to themselves and to others. What happens is that the first desire will sneak out when one least expects it, and due to the lack of acknowledgment of this first desire one will have no control over it. It will happen and one will come off as “fake” or hypocritical.
It is clear what happens when the second desire is ignored so moving on….
What needs to happen is a conscience effort needs to be made to acknowledge both desires. We need to take a pro-active approach to finding a way in which these two desires can co-exist. There is no denying one desire or the other, because they both exist. Once one realizes that this, than not only will he find ways in which to take care of their own self, but this will aid one in being better at putting others first. Unless we take care of ourselves we can’t take care of others. And likewise, unless we take care of others we can’t take care of ourselves.
Contradicting ideas that must reach a compromise. You have to find the compromise.