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Individualism is not Selfishness

Publicado dia 23/04/2005 20:27:34 em STUM WORLD


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Translated by Nancy Juozapavicius - [email protected]

Our ears receive in a negative way the word individualism because we confuse it with selfishness, and addiction that we condemn even if it is living inside of us. However it is not good to accept as an absolute truth everything we hear when children. It is convenient to reflect about what we think we know.
Individualism is related to individuality, I mean, the capacity to recognize yourself as a unity, even if it is integrated to a higher context – the family, the country, the planet. We are individuals with particular peculiarities, a unique part in a universe made of different people who share common goals.
Individualism considers legitimate to take care of your own interests – which doesn’t mean, in any way, to harm the rights of those who are around us. The individualist has a clear notion of your limitations. Without this awareness of the border which separates the rights of the other from yours, it wouldn’t be able to distinguish itself from the whole, and would lose its individualism.

Our society values intense exchange of feelings and idolizes people who give themselves unconditionally. So, the individualistic, who is not an enthusiast in exchanging, is seen with reservations. It is someone who doesn’t expect much from the others and prefers give only a little of himself. This behavior is not selfishness, despite the people whose expectations he doesn’t answer see him this way.

Selfish are the ones who defend deep experience exchange among people to take advantage, considering they demand a lot and give a little. As they don’t survive without this, they accuse of selfishness who doesn’t accept the rules of this game of giving a lot and receiving a little. The targets in general are the individualistic, who don’t accept this kind of manipulation. To the selfish there’s no other way out except take advantage of the generous – those who don’t mind receiving much less than their interest in giving would deserve.

The selfish says “I love myself” and likes to brag about the fact he can supply his own needs and be ok with himself. The objective of this discourse is hiding the shame he feels of his complete dependence – of attention, of protection, of company. If he was really independent, it wouldn’t be necessary to take advantage of the relationships. Indeed, he would like to be individualistic, to be strong enough to be self-sufficient, bearing with dignity the pain inherent to life, to be able to choose between exchange or not. The individualistic has this strength, while the selfish imitates him showing off an energy he doesn’t have.

Because of this, the selfish confiscates something that is not his: he needs to keep some extra share to supply his incompetence in dealing with life. He does so not because he is unprincipled, but because he is weak. He knows his emotional limitations and suffers from jealousy of those who are truly independent. He tries to incorporate his attitudes and even convinces a lot of people of his independence. But he can’t deceive himself.

por Flávio Gikovate

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Sobre o autor
Flávio Gikovate é um eterno amigo e colaborador do STUM.
Foi médico psicoterapeuta, pioneiro da terapia sexual no Brasil.
Conheça o Instituto de Psicoterapia de São Paulo.
Faleceu em 13 de outubro de 2016, aos 73 anos em SP.
Email: [email protected]
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