“Wisdom is something we acquire through learning; it is not something we buy.” – Akan proverb
My dear Selfish Self,
I have had to push myself to write to you; because now, more than ever, you need a renewed sense of purpose. Maybe you are not aware of how your utterances and actions are impoverishing our society. But the time has come for me to lay bare the fact that you have become a blight not just on our generation and the ones to come, but on an entire race. Is it your motive to get us enslaved again? How could you be so focused on your ambition you cannot hear the cry of the suffering that has engulfed our society. Even the demons cringe at your selfishness. You have broken boundaries and made it extremely difficult for others to even meet their own ends.
Your kind of selfishness is one that no person should degenerate into. Our humanity agrees that we should do wonderful things for ourselves, but never at the expense of others. Sadly, you have defied reasoning and transitioned into the arena of wickedness. You are levelling hills and filling valleys just to have your way. Over the years you have consistently ignored the aspirations of others, all in the drive to fulfil your ambition. When our fathers philosophised that the one cutting the path cannot see the crookedness behind him or her, they were referencing situations like the one you have found yourself in.
Often, I cry myself to sleep over your utterances and actions. You are my whole life, yet you hurt me over and over with your self-centred attitude. Why do you make everything about you? Your passion for glory is warped. Long before you degenerated into this greed, you advocated for virtues and goodness. And many were the hearts and souls that prayed our Creator to lift you high, with the hope that providing you with authority would allow you to create an enabling environment for all within our society to live their dreams.
Well, there were some who had reservations about you. They argued that your nurturing was purely intellectual and you would only care for yourself when given the opportunity. They saw through you, that you would do what feels right instead of what is right; and what feels good rather than what is good.
The groans around us are a testament that they hit the nail on the head. I, on the other hand, have been wondering how you live with yourself within us. Over the years, you have ignored all my prodding and promptings. Your desire to be praised has weighed down your heart from reaching God. You have assumed that because you call yourself a Christian, you are not a wicked person. How wrong you are.
You might be fellowshipping with a church community, but your depth of wickedness does not allow you to be numbered among the children of God. That fountain of life does not belong to selfish individuals. Please understand that you could be filled with gifts from God and still be a wicked person. King Saul had the gift of prophecy, even while he was persecuting David. Thus, your claim of spirituality does not absolve you from being evil.
I wish I could purge you out, but you are a part of me. Thus I write to you publicly, hoping the public will see through your caresses and advise themselves about you. I could be affected, but I prefer the altruistic you rather than the corruptor you have become. How can you care more about losing the limelight than impoverishing millions of lives? Listen, my selfish self. Life is not about you, neither is it about me. It is for all of us. That is why even though we all are fundamentally self-interested, it does not mean we have to be selfish.
We need each other to be able to enjoy the wonderfulness of this life. But your selfishness is preventing that. Do you have any idea the amount of innovativeness and ingenuity you have deprived the world of? Every selfish act of yours creates a little hopelessness. Over the years, it has grown and filled many souls with emptiness. Today, it hangs over our society like a dark cloud waiting to rain on us.
There is no remedy for selfishness but to become selfless. At the very least, let your proclaimed fear of God fill you with compassion for others. Maybe you cannot picture the face of selflessness, its shape or its size. But it can assure you it is the feet that carry the vulnerable to hospitals when they are sick. It has eyes that see the suffering of others and takes steps to alleviate them. It has got ears that listen to the public’s murmurings. It has hands that reach down to lift others up. And more importantly, it sits among people to share in their pain and in their merriment. It is human – and that is what I want us to become.
Let us become human once again. We were like that a while ago, and it made me proud to be a part of you. Being selfless is not a self-abasing, passive and timid thing; and do not think it will tame or fill you with gentleness. Rather, you will be fired-up to undertake the greater good for the greater number of people, and life will become better and meaningful, not just for you but also for all others…
Your Selfless Self.
Kodwo Brumpon is a partner at Brumpon & Kobla Ltd., a forward-thinking Pan African management consultancy and social impact firm driven by data analytics, with a focus on understanding the extraordinary potential and needs of organisations and businesses to help them cultivate synergies which catapult them into strategic growth and certify their sustainability.
Comments, suggestions and requests for talks and training should be sent to him at kodwo@brumponand kobla.com