Am I Being Selfish?

by MrFreeze 7 Replies latest jw experiences

  • MrFreeze

    As I watched "It's a Wonderful Life" for the 100th time, I couldn't help but notice the similarities between me and George Bailey. Okay, maybe I've never helped finance somebodies house or helped people the way George was able to help people. Maybe it's an awful comparison. I'm nowhere near the man George Bailey was in the film, but I'm going to make the comparison anyway.

    Let's talk about George. Here's a man who had big dreams. He wanted to travel the world. He wanted to go to school and become an engineer. He was right at the doorstep of both and yet he gave that all up to be able to lend people a hand. He was all ready to travel and live his dream, then his father passed away leaving the business for him to take care of. Sure, he could have stepped down and let Mr. Potter take it over, but it would have been to the detriment of the whole town. So it left him all alone to care for this institution that meant so much to the town. He even gives up a high-paying job that would help make a better life for him and his family. He just wanted so badly to help people. He was willing to give up his dreams and his comfort for other people.

    Am I being selfish for choosing a path that would seperate me from my family, all to attain some personal freedom and some happiness? I just want to help people and make people happy. Should I have just kept my opinions and thoughts to myself to keep me and my family together? I don't have big dreams like George Bailey had. I just want to be content. I couldn't find contentment in the religion. Was it selfish of me to disappoint friends and family all to try to reach that? I've always given of myself for others. I don't feel that I've ever really looked out for my own interest. As Peter Bailey put it " All you can take with you is that which you've given away."

    This is so unfair. Why am I even forced to make a choice either way? Sometimes life just really seems screwed up.

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    Greetings, MrFreeze:

    Puzzlement, for sure.

    With or without our really not so peculiar circumstance of one-time obedience to a cult's leaders, life is not fair, is a series of trade-offs, dissapointments and so-called failures. Many of us do identify with George; he's Everyman. Most people are good-hearted and generous, wanting to help their fellowman whenever possible, maybe not in the capacity of a Mohandas Gandhi or a Mother Teresa, but to the extent they reasonably can. My parents were dirt poor but were always helping others worse off. It was like a preoccupation of theirs, much as you describe yourself.

    The problem, as I perceive it, is that we have been trained, under the guise of the spirit of true Christianity, that help offered others must be according to the guidelines of Mother. No other efforts, however sincere, are of real and lasting benefit. We have to retrain our minds to follow our hearts [not always treacherous and out to mislead us] and heads to assist others as our personal gifts direct and allow.

    It's not selfish to want to be happy on your terms. Open-hearted and -minded individuals will appreciate and love you for who you are. And your manner of giving.

    All the best,


  • SlipnSlide

    There is nothing wrong with being a little bit selfish. How many times have we put ourselves in a position to help others? I don't know about you but that's all that I have done as a witness. I was unselfish and kind. I helped others who are more unfortunate as I am. I went out during the week when I could and preached the good news to others. I gave at every meeting and donated in the contribution box (each one) cuz I was a good witness. I visited the sick and shut-in and provided meals on MY dime. I drove others who had no transporation to the KH and in service (often without an offer of gas fare). I cleaned up the KH after the meetings even when it was NOT my bookstudy group that was supposed to. I also provided a listening ear and an open home for those who wanted to talk or get away. I think that at this time in my life, I'm allowed to be selfish with myself. Don't get me wrong, I willingly did those things, cuz that's the type of person I am, but the only time that I will do anything will because I want to and not out of guilt. Did not want to be this way, but that is what the WTBTS and the GB has forced me to be.

  • GrandmaJones

    Hey, old George didn't have it so bad. Maybe he didn't become rich and famous, but he finished high school, (which was a pretty big deal in itself in the late thirties early forties) became a respectable banker, (maybe not a rich one, but still, a banker) and he made enough money to keep a wife and four children without her having to work. They ended up with a pretty nice house, even though they did the work themselves, and enough money for piano lessons etc for the kids. Not his dreams, but he didn't have to become a janitor like JW's. They drop out of high school to pioneer, which was the equivilent of dropping out at the eighth grade.

    I know how you feel. I didn't fulfill my dreams either, and it could have and should have been a whole lot better, but hey, it's Christmas, and don't we count our blessings?

    With love


  • MrFreeze

    No he didn't have it so bad, but he could have had better. He deserved better.

  • Snoozy

    Mr Freeze I too have had the same feelings of doubt..

    The one thing that comes to my mind today is a quote I have seen lately..

    " I would rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I'm not. "

    I'm kind of going throught the same thing right now again..

    I often wonder if thiings would have been different if I had returned with my hubby to the meetings just to keep peace and make him and his family happy...

    Is it worth the sacrifice?

    Only you can know that. But be sure to commit yourself if you make the decision to be with them..otherwise it won't work.

    Another question I asked myself was " How come they can be themselves and I can't..."

    I have a little different circumstance going on now but it again dates back to being JW's..I hope we both make the right decision for us..


  • MrFreeze

    You know what Snoozy, your words have really affected me. Your quote there "I would rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I'm not" has helped me make firm in my heart what I know what is right. Thank you for that. I know I'm a nice guy and there are certain people who appreciate me for who I am, not what I believe. Is it really worth it, to spend my time on people who would throw me away that quickly? Is that a selfish thing to think? One of my closest friends in the organization just unfriended me on facebook. I'm a nice, genuine person with a good heart. They are throwing me away. They will make it sound like I'm throwing them away. You know what, I would still be friends with them, even if I stopped being a dub. They are disowning me, not the other way around. Although it is sad, it's what I know is right. I thank all of you people. You are some of the best people ever! Even though you may be sarcastic at time to people's cherished beliefs, I know you all have a good heart and sincerely want to help people escape a life of misery. As the JW's would say, three times for emphasis, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

  • Snoozy

    Good way to put it..

    I too think I would rather have one or two that really appreciate and like me for who I am than 20 that like me for who I'm not.


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