“Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion.” -Daniel Goleman

Self preservation is a powerful thing. It is not singular to humans. Animals do it and even plants do everything in their ability to preserve self.

It is a basic survival instinct. It is innate. Everyone implores the skill of self preservation. Adam was the first human to apply one of the tenants of self preservation. Adam blamed his sin on another human, Eve.

Self preservation comes in many forms. At times it looks like lying. It can mask itself as stealing, self defense, and even coping.

Everything we do is a form of self preservation. However, most forms of self preservation are rooted in selfish behavior.

One of the most common forms of self preservation is living above the law. People who choose to believe that the rules do not apply to them or their situation.

Oddly enough, this behavior is associated more with wealthy people who have connections. After all, it is easier for them to bend rules as they need them to. However, this attitude does not discriminate. Rich folks, poor folks, everyday common folks, white folks, black folks, and any other type of person can have this attitude.

I cannot say what makes a person feel entitled to break the rules. I would wager familiarity in a particular situation would aid in the sense of entitlement. People will take more liberties when they feel comfortable. People attempt to get away with more when they are in a familiar setting.

I suppose that is normal. Quickly, we find our little ways of justifying our actions. We introduce those little thoughts. “I do X so I deserve Y”. We may even think “Well Mrs. Y does J so I can do T”. Our justifications are what help us make our decisions.

However, some people have a sense of entitlement without familiarity. These people do not ask. They just do. Most likely they subscribe to the belief of “Its better to ask forgiveness than permission”.

This belief sadly reflects many people within our society. It bolsters the premise of “let’s do as much as we can and see what we can get away with”.

Many people have a disregard for the rules. People attempt to get away with everything they can. Lying, stealing, and cheating become the norm for these folks.

And their justification is always the same. I am owed this. I am a good person. I’m not hurting others.

Whatever excuse can be thought of is used as their justification for their behavior. I believe this is where self preservation comes into play. People lie as to not face consequences. People steal for many reasons but gain for self is usually the leading reason.

We should evaluate our behaviors and motives of why we participate in different activities. Self preservation is a powerful instinct. It is innate. But it doesn’t mean we cannot rise above our selfish desires.

We all have the ability to do good. We all have the ability to change the world for the better. We should always strive for “us” preservation instead of self preservation.

This in itself is humbling.


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