Selfish Altruism – everything IS about ME.

I have a perspective that each of us can only give what we have, what we possess, own, or hold.

Seems logical –

  • If my bucket is empty, I can’t give you anything out of it.
    • If the bank account registers as $0, there is nothing to spend.
      • If my gas tank is empty, the car can’t go anywhere.

I have discovered that translates into my own “accounts.”

  • I love others to the same depth and breadth that I love myself.
    • I can only care for others to the degree that I am healthy.
      • I have to put on my own oxygen mask first, or I die. Dead people can’t help others.

It is in the development of me that I am a better parent, spouse, employee, committee member,

… a better person.

When I look around the World at all the things I perceive as wrong,

all the things that are unjust,

the things I want to change…

I can feel overwhelmed. That quickly turns to helplessness, even hopelessness.

“What can I do?”

That’s where it begins, this idea of Selfish Altruism, because the only thing I really have control over is me – and that’s on a good day!

Selfish Altruism is built on the concept that by taking care of me and my needs, I can help support you and my community. From a healthy “I”, I can change the World.

It starts by understanding, we all develop from the inside out:

first clearly developing and defining who “I” am,

….which informs and allows me to develop interpersonal relationships between “we,”

….and through those interpersonal relationships, developing, defining and impacting our “us” – our communities and World.

It’s not a linear development, however. We continue to circle back from the middle to the outside, always starting with “I”.

It looks like thisarrow-down


That spiral continues throughout our lifetime: from infancy to toddler-hood where,  we learn all about what “I” can do.

Through our relationship with parents, family and friends we learn about “we.”

Through interactions in groups like preschool, church, or community, we learn about the bigger World, “us.”

Then we go to school.

We learn more about what “I” can do.

Then about the interactions between peers… “we”

      then how our classroom and school is impacted by “us.”

Then we go to Junior High, High School, College or Post High School, First job, hooking up, getting really attached, maybe kids, empty nests, retiring…..

The spiral repeats.

Each time the most important focus is the “I” (See that little red asterisk? That’s where it starts.).

THAT’S how it works. Our “I” is the center of all we know, understand, believe, do, and expect.

Not all of us got this started well. Abuse, illness, drama and trauma….

Our childhood, our experiences…  sometimes they get in the way of truly loving ourselves, valuing who we are and what we have to offer.  In turn, that’s gotten in our way of healthy relationships with others and our World.

But that’s okay.

Together, we can change that, right here!

I’d like to take you on this journey with me of acquiring and using the skills we need to respect and love, first and foremost ourselves.

Loving others, changing the World… those things will come naturally as our “I” gets clearer, stronger,

Together we will grow in our self-love, self-respect, and self-worth.

It’s a journey I’ve been on for awhile. I want to share what I’ve learned and I want the opportunity to learn from you (that means you have to comment, BTW) so we can move forward in big ways – together.

Together we will build a community of healthy people ready to support and expand and change the World.

It starts with you, with your commitment to your “I”.

It’s a big commitment to yourself.

Are you ready?

Are you worth it?

After all, it REALLY is all about ME!

Hit the comments below to let me know you’re in. I will comment back!

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And thanks!

With Respect,

Leah R. Kyaio

11 thoughts on “Selfish Altruism – everything IS about ME.

  1. I’ve also been on the journey for awhile. How can this model translate to eastern cultures with focus on “we” before “I”? Blanking on the word I’m looking for, but the opposite of individualistic…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good question, Kristin!
      It isn’t about a cultural focus. It’s about a developmental focus.

      It’s the difference between selfishness (in the negative context) and self-care. The reality is I cannot teach someone to speak until I can, I can not walk in community until I learn first to walk myself.

      Perhaps ironically, many collectivist (that’s the word I think you were looking for) cultures actually allow for a lot of self development. Children spend a lot of time not being formally taught and instead spend time in relationship with others – elders in particular. They are taught the frameworks of the culture, given the tools they need to interact. In this way it is very much in support of the development of I. It’s the idea of making it right within your own home before going to help your neighbor.

      In healthy communities, people seldom do for others to the exclusion or detriment of themselves. Yes, they may well be willing to give their lives for another, be willing to sacrifice so others have but there is a reciprocal expectation. If you need a blanket and I have one, I will, in most cases, share it with you, not give it to you. My expectation is that if I were to need a blanket later, you will do likewise.

      Does that help explain?


    1. Glad you find it so clear and supportive! Looking forward to more clarity along this journey with you.


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