When I first started submitting my manuscript/proposal to be (potentially) published, there was constantly a section in every application that read, “Qualifications”, or a title similar. It was a concise area for authors to list all their credentials, to basically deem themselves worthy to write about whatever topic they were submitting. It was a space to prove yourself, and basically say, ‘You should listen to me on this subject because…’ and then the author would fill up their once blank space with reasons and accomplishments. My “Qualifications” space always remained blank. (Please note: Qualifications are not a bad thing. It is amazing if you’ve worked hard at a specific career or specialty, and have created a list of skills, courses, or work to show for your competence with a specific category.) I am definitely qualified in other aspects of life in my career and other sub categories, but writing was no where among my resume or skill set.
This section continued to haunt me repeatedly; there was no escaping it. I felt like yelling through the computer, “I have NO qualifications! What do you people want from me?!? Wasn’t anyone ever a first-time writer? Are you supposed to be qualified before you even get your break? Am I missing something here?!?” I have never been a writer, and I had no experience to be one. I could hardly sit still; my A.D.D. would usually kick in halfway through a paragraph, and I would remove myself from the computer to start cleaning. (Additionally, I secretly prefer using emoticons or memes to communicate. My friends are lucky if they get a text message from me with actual letters that create a proper sentence with appropriate grammar.) I wrote for my High School Newspaper my Senior Year, and I really enjoyed writing… until I got to college. Within the four walls of those classrooms, I received papers back from professors that appeared to be more red-stained than the bottom of a Louboutin heel. At the sight of, yet another, paper that had been murdered, I deemed myself incapable of being a writer. I guess it just wasn’t for me. OK, fine, I’ll move on. My non-existent career of being a Fashion Journalist went down the drain quicker than I could finish dreaming up the actual career itself.
But here I am….writing. Still under-qualified, but at least with some valuable lessons under my belt, with one in particular I would like to share. I might be under-qualified in writing, but I am overly-qualified in being selfish. I have perfected the art of being selfish with my time (is that really what I want to be doing on my day off?), selfish with my money (spending it on all the things that sparkle at me), selfish at work (I deserve more respect!), selfish with friendships (I am so offended!), and the list rattles on. This isn’t meant to criticize my self-worth, but my selfishness is a fact that is as true as the grass is green. I have many other fantastic traits, great qualities, and real love to share, but that doesn’t disregard the fact that I basically have a PhD in Being Selfish. Great talents, a witty senses of humor, or creative skills don’t make up for selfish behavior. They just mask it a little better, so people might not notice it as quickly. Sometimes I didn’t even notice my selfishness as quickly!
The good Lord above made it very clear to me one day that being selfish isn’t the life that I was created to live. My selfishness directly correlates with my happiness: the more selfish I am, the unhappier I become. It’s actually quite ironic, because everything in this world tells us that ‘we need to look out for number one’, ‘do what you need to do to get ahead’, or ‘just do whatever makes you happy’. Buying a Chanel bag would make me VERY happy, but then I would be homeless on the street because I couldn’t pay rent. Trying to fill every selfish void inside has not accomplished anything, because we were not created to live like that! There is so much more joy, adventure, and culture to absorb if I would simply get my eyes off myself, and what would fill my current crave for satisfaction. Being selfless isn’t about perfectionism, but it’s about practicality. Practical ways to simply bloom where we are planted, in our everyday, flawed lives; to give back a little more than anyone would expect. The more personal opinion I leave behind, the more perspective I gain. And the more I look to Heaven, the more I can be a help on Earth.
Now don’t get me wrong; going through a selfish-detox is going to look different on everyone. This is not a one-size-fits-all model. Not everyone is meant to live selflessly in a hut in Uganda. Not everyone is meant to give to the same charity or organization. Different acts of kindness, or donations of time or money will be unique reflection to our own sacrifices to shed our selfish skin. Every person was created in a dynamic and powerful way with various passions, a heart for specific causes, and skills to help wherever is needed. We are created differently, so we can help the world in a different way. I am encouraging you to tap into your soul, shake your schedule up a bit, get out of your comfort zone, and do something to change your world. It doesn’t have to be extensive or require a change in address, or change in career. Being selfless could be buying the homeless man on the corner a bagel, and asking him his name. Being selfless could be offering your neighbor a ride to work, when you know their car has broken down (even if you are running late!). Being selfless could be going out of your way for someone, even if you hardly get a thank-you in return. Being selfless could be donating your time regularly at an animals shelter. Being selfless could be dishing up food every week at a food kitchen.
Whatever your gift is, wherever you call ‘home’, make the leap from #Selfie to Selfless. There are no qualifications needed here. Do not let your past qualifications (or lack of) determine your destiny. When I am extremely overwhelmed, and ridiculously under-qualified; THAT is when the miracles happen. YOU could be the miracle that someone has been praying for to change their world, even with one little smile….
Let’s shock the world with some selflessness!