Aries: Selfishness vs. Self-Interested, Which One Are You?

March 28, 2019
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More than any other month of the year, Aries grants us the ability to change and shape our destiny. Rav Isaac Luria, known as The Ari, taught that the first 12 days of Aries corresponded to each of the 12 months of the year offering us a road map of sorts; daily directions for altering what Rav Berg referred to as “our outcome.” For example, the first day of Aries corresponds with the energy of Aries; the second day corresponds to the energy of Taurus; the third day to Gemini and so on. Aligning with the energy of each day helps you to plant seeds of positivity throughout the year.

The Rav often used the example of seeds when speaking of Aries because it is a month where everything is at infancy level—everything is at the very beginning; offering us the unique potential for growth and change. This is a time of challenges, little tests, and confrontations, which, if we respond to in proactive ways, will make all the difference. Responding positively and finding the gift in our challenges can completely transform the year to come.

For now, let’s focus on Aries. The month may offer us an amazing opportunity to transform our year ahead of time, but Aries itself brings powerful—often fiery and unpredictable—energy. Aries is governed by Mars, the planet of war, making it the most determined, focused, and driven of the signs. Aries’ desire is unmatched and once they’ve decided on a direction, the path will be forged and the war will be won. They are incredible self-starters and make for truly great leaders, pioneers, and game changers.

Unsurprisingly, these strengths also make for Aries’ most prominent downfall: selfishness.

Selfishness is defined by Merriam Webster as being “concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others.”

Most of us would shudder at the thought of anyone considering us selfish, or worse, realizing that we are actually being selfish. Selfish people are rude, hurtful, they undermine colleagues and cut people off in traffic. They’re self-absorbed and self-important, and people avoid them at all costs—stereotypically anyway. However, we can also be selfish in the opposite direction: we over-give, we say yes when we really want to say no, and prioritize other people’s needs above our own. Some might argue that this isn’t selfish at all, but when we put others before us and neglect ourselves, we are less focused on what we are able to give and more focused on what other people are thinking or feeling about us. All that seeming selflessness is actually self-serving, as the desire behind the giving is for validation and love.

The young mom who prioritizes her family and leaves herself last is exhausted and irritable; physically and emotionally unable to be supportive, which is what she ultimately wants. The CEO that prioritizes his employees over himself watches his personal and family life crumble; distracting him from the very work that is so important to him. The student that prioritizes their friendships and social life in order to be accepted struggles with passing classes and jeopardizes their future.

All of these are examples of people who look like they’re sacrificing for others but they’re actually sacrificing themselves. Selfishness can be tricky like that. It isn’t always blatant; it isn’t always out loud; it doesn’t always look like greedy millionaires or tyrannical kings. Now, applying a bit of self-interest to the areas where we over-give can help us come back into balance.

Let’s use the same examples from above and add a dose of self-interest. At the first sign of irritability, that young mom decides to carve out an hour, three times a week, to go to a yoga class. The CEO will arrange his schedule to leave work early so he can watch his son’s baseball tournament. That student will review their schedule and decide to skip out on her friend’s birthday party to sleep before a final.

When we fill our cups first, we are able to give in all of the ways we really want to.

This is the opportunity that Aries brings us. During this month, everything having to do with self will be highlighted, and this heightened self-awareness can be used to redefine the ways we relate and give to ourselves—beginning with the first day of Aries.

Balancing selfishness with self-interest is as simple as checking in with yourself throughout the day. Are you saying “yes” to something because it energizes you or because you’re worried about what the other person will think if you say “no?” When you’re at home, are you staring at your phone and answering emails or are you taking time to engage with your family?

Do you really need to stay at the office for ten hours or are you doing it because this is where you find significance and people will see you as hard-working?

Again, selfishness isn’t always overt and while I’m certainly not saying you should disregard the feelings of others completely, you can look at the reasons that you may overly-prioritize them. Get interested in yourself this month, look at all the reasons you do what you do. Is it truly so you can give and share your love in the most positive way? If not, really explore what you would need in order to be able to do that and find ways to make it happen.

The energy of Aries wants to lead and create and fight for what it cares about most. Bulldozing people with selfishness won’t make that happen and neither will the subtly selfish act of putting everyone else first. Instead, enact your own self-interest inventory daily and bring yourself back into balance as often as you can.

 

THOUGHT INTO ACTION

Look at the areas of your life where you slip into selfishness and call it selflessness. How can you give more to yourself in order to serve and share with others?

 


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