Sunday’s Wisdom #185: Selfish Sanity

“In order to stay sane, you sometimes have to be a little selfish.”
– Arthur “Artie” Nielsen, Warehouse 13
Season 5, Episode 6, “Endless”

I really love Artie. Next to Claudia, he is my favorite part of Warehouse 13. However cranky and crabby his demeanor, he still has this huge, giving heart, with which he shares all his insights, gained from a long and storied life. This is one of the last we hear, in the series finale.

It is a very good thing to be unselfish. It’s good to be charitable, it’s good to do one’s duty for the sake of others. However, even that most noble virtue must be tempered. To give and give and give without limit, in any capacity, just isn’t healthy. We are humans, and humans need balance. Courage needs to be balanced with caution, patience with boldness, sobriety with laughter, etc. Selflessness is no exception.

Sometimes you have to fight for your happiness, and that involves being a bit selfish from time to time.

If one gives all and loses their own happiness as a result, then sooner or later they’ll just have nothing left to give, because there will be nothing left but a gaping hole in their heart screaming to be filled with anything. Nobody benefits from that.

If, instead, one balances one’s own happiness, one’s own needs, one’s selfishness against what they can give to the world, then they can maintain themselves, and have more to give later. Everybody benefits from that.

Give your entire fortune away, and you have nothing left to give. Give away pieces of your fortune while preserving the heart of it, and you can keep giving forever.

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