To Prioritize Self or Others?

The ultimate question in this world is whether to prioritize oneself over others. Naturally, human beings ofcourse are designed to be selfish. One has to nurture oneself, and by nature it is a rule that there is an unending list of what man needs and wants. However, no man is an island. We need each other. One has to support each other to gain the needed strength and learning from others to be better in one's personal dealings. This is the reason why we humans need to give back to others, and assume a social responsibility for others. We do not want others to be oppressed by others, and we want others not to feel alone in times of crisis.

This description is easier written than experienced in reality. There so much factors affecting oneself and others before one could say that by moral obligation, one has to contribute for the goodness of others. There are questions that remains unanswered in the quest of finding answers. It keeps us thinking more on what really our purpose in this world, to be feeling better for oneself, or to be an effective steward for others. These questions lingering at the back of our consciousness will be tacked in this article.

Taking care of others is telling others to do the same.

Mutuality is perhaps the right description. If one feels good because of others, one would care more for others in the same way. It is just like passing the goodness on. However, the world is not populated with so much kind and good people. So, this expectation is almost impossible to achieve. One say that others should care for him or her, but most do not want to care for others. The cycle just stops. We want to get from others, but we hesitate to give back for a multitude of alibis and reasons. This is where the problem exists. The balance does not exist when we want to receive and just continue to receive even more.

Taking care of oneself is a manifestation of social responsibility.

The opposite perspective exists, describing the necessity of being better to be part of a greater whole. The theory is simple. If a part is functioning and other parts are functioning as well, then the whole is good. However, the society has itself defective, irreplaceable, unfixable parts then. It is difficult to do this. Others argue that by taking one's part good is already a big contribution to the whole. But, is thinking of oneself in this way considered a selfish idea or action in itself. It could be seen as a rationalization of not thinking others, because the problem is huge, thereby not obliging one to help. If everyone does the same, would we create a whole of fragmented functioning and non-functioning parts? What then is better to make one function, or make the whole cohesive? Those two are not always mutually exclusive.

What makes one happy may not be what the society thinks is best.

Think of happiness perhaps. One must think of happiness and its pursuits. An attempt is enough but is that sufficient enough? Is it fine to say one attempts to be happy and attempt to make others happy? Is an attempt good enough to replace actual results? Furthermore, when one could say he or she is happy, but not happy for others; is that better than the opposite. The dilemma exists on happiness on which happiness to prioritize. One's happiness perhaps to influence others to be happy as well, or that of others first to create a happy atmosphere where one could be motivated to feel happy? One thing is certain, what makes one happy may not be the same with how society defines happiness, and vice versa.

It is sad that when people talk about oneself more often, others think that person is selfish. When one feels happy for his or her own experience, does it necessitate one a reflection of the one's obligation to be sensitive of other's suffering. There are many in this world who are happier than us, but they might more who are suffering than us. We help others we know first, but how about those who we do not know. Is it bad not to help them? Is it part of our obligation to help others, especially when you are feeling better yourself than others? What is considered acceptable help for others? Helping two others? Or perhaps three? But there are billions in this world. Yes, we can not help everyone, but does that mean we stop asking ourselves if we need to help then?


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