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Benevolent Selfishness

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  • Benevolent Selfishness

    Maybe it's just the beast in me, but I've grown quite tired of being too helpful.

    Ever since I adopted a more Primal diet, I find that a) I have grown to respect myself, my time, and my agenda a lot more than I ever have, to be frank, and b) I have grown just as impatient, annoyed, and sickened of people who try to rope me into doing things for them, which in the past was a HUGE problem...

    It may seem crazy (well, maybe not here right?) but ever since I ditched the grains and garbage I've stopped being as complacent as I once was, and I've become less inclined to accept second-best (or less) to try and spare others' feelings... It's not so much aggression as a drive, an assertiveness if you will, that has been building up and making me challenge people when they insist that I back off from something they want, or when they want me to work to fulfill their agendas... I have to admit that I rather like it.

    The trick seems to be balancing this new drive with a modicum of sophistication and kindness to keep the edge off. I want to cultivate this assertive new side, because I believe it has wonderful potential, but I'm really not wanting to be "that guy" who goes around like a jerk treating other people like garbage... I want to cultivate a "Benevolent Selfishness" and work towards MY goals, MY ambitions, and MY success, and I fully believe that this is a direct result of cutting the crap out of my diet/going Primal (I'm also sure I am NOT the only one who has had this happen!) I know that focusing some of this new fire into getting into awesome shape is a good idea.

    Any tips? I don't want to lose this edge.
    Eat like a Beast, feel like a Beast!
    Eat from a huge bag of processed junk... Well... You know.

  • #2
    If you spent a long time neglecting your own needs/desires, it is quite normal to be, at first, "a little too selfish" to balance.
    Tou will find your own balance just by listenning your inner voice. If you feel uncomfortable to say "yes", don't. If you don't feel uncomfortable about what you've been asked to do, if it doesn't deprive you of anything you need in the moment (time, money...)
    then you say yes.
    I have been frustrated so many time by saying "yes" and regretting it right after ! Now I try to ask myself if I really want to or not.


    • #3
      Chapter II - Man's Sole Impulse--the Securing of His Own Approval [Mark Twain's essay: What Is Man?]

      (Mark Twain essay, "What is Man" where he argues that all acts are always necessarily selfish, and that no one is capable of acting except to secure their own approval. Good stuff)
      "Ah, those endless forests, and their horror-haunted gloom! For what eternities have I wandered through them, a timid, hunted creature, starting at the least sound, frightened of my own shadow, keyed-up, ever alert and vigilant, ready on the instant to dash away in mad flight for my life. For I was the prey of all manner of fierce life that dwelt in the forest, and it was in ecstasies of fear that I fled before the hunting monsters."

      Jack london, "Before Adam"


      • #4
        It's a matter of drawing boundaries, and forcing others to respect them. Because we have (now) drawn such healthy boundaries for ourselves, for our choices for US - it stands to reason we would want to hold others to at LEAST our own standards.

        Plus, living with peace in your life means (I think) rejecting the drama of others' unreasonable demands. Listening to my body has had the amazing domino effect of allowing me to listen to my own thoughts and desires. And what I want counts more than what others want FOR me.
        I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled. ~P. G. Wodehouse


        • #5
          I like your term for it, "Benevolent Selfishness."

          I kind of don't believe in altruism because I think that even when we do something for someone else, we are feeding a need that we have to do so. So from that perspective, (and I understand that my views are sometimes off the rails), perhaps helping people do certain things no longer makes you feel good.

          I agree with Casey about boundaries. A friend who calls once a year because of an emergency is one thing; a friend whose life seems to be full of emergencies and sucks you into them all the time is taking advantage of your good nature.

          Tips? Be as kind as possible, but learn to say no. No to crappy restaurants, no to picking up the check all the time, etc. You may lose some people in your circle, but you'll pick up others who like you for your new outlook.
          "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine


          Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.


          • #6
            I've found a couple fo people have been persuaded by moderately snobbish arguements. Things like

            "Rich people buy organic food, although they are happy to sell processed crap and pesticide covered cheap foor to the rest of us"

            "Carbs are cheap filler. If money was no object, how much would people really eat? Why not just eat the food that comes with the bread?"
            Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

            Griff's cholesterol primer
            5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
            Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
            TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
            bloodorchid is always right


            • #7
              Sounds like healthy eating has increased testosterone. Good fats and cholesterol can have this effect. Try to harness your new powers for good, not evil I guess.


              • #8
                "I want to cultivate this assertive new side, because I believe it has wonderful potential, but I'm really not wanting to be "that guy" who goes around like a jerk treating other people like garbage..."

                For most people, this is like the skinny girl refusing to lift weights because she "doesn't want to get muscular", or the beginner who's so deathly afraid of "overtraining" that he refuses to train hard.

                If you have enough empathy to realize it's a potential problem, you have enough empathy to realize when you've gone too far. If you do, apologize and move on. You'll probably find yourself apologizing far less often than you think!

                This transition, btw, is something I've noted in myself and in many others. There's a reason I titled my essay "Eat Like A Predator" affects your mental state as well as your physical state, and any assertion otherwise is just camouflaged Cartesian dualism.



                • #9
                  It makes sense to me! There has to be a balance between helping people when they need it, and letting people take advantage of you!

                  Personally I'm now leaning more to the side of benevolent selfishness now too! I'll help out friends in need, but not to the extent that they're using me for my good nature.

                  I have enough family obligations and stuff as it is and doing stuff I resent has no real place in my life now


                  • #10
                    I thought this would be about Ayn Rand. Nothing wrong with what you're saying. Lay off the analysis and just focus on the doing. I know; I've made the same mistake many times in the past (over-analysis, not over-selflessness).
                    Last edited by wiltondeportes; 08-23-2013, 04:58 AM.


                    • #11
                      good info,Try to harness your new powers for good, not evil I guess. thanks


                      • #12
                        Yeah I am going to me too as well.

                        I have found since going paleo, my testosterone is way better, I am much more aggressive, less passive and then I read J.Stanton's eat like a predator and it all clicked. It also has to do with becoming a Norse Heathen in more than just name, I have learned to be more positive and aggressive which sorta does not best please my wife. I am trying to learn to balance my more aggressive nature with a more empathic, almost feminine awareness. It aint easy balancing these two but The gods I chose to venerate hopefully are a balance between them.
                        Primal since April 2012 Male 6' 3" SW 345lbs CW 240lbs GW 220lbs and when I get there I am getting a utlikilt. This one actually.

                        Join me at, where all the cavemen hang out.


                        • #13
                          You're turning into an alpha-male. Grok would be proud. Don't let any one walk all over you but always smile and be nice as you assert yourself.


                          • #14
                            I've noticed I've had more "go" in the physical realm, though it wobbles. Need to patch up the diet more. I also check myself conciously, as being complacent has been the norm so long I have alarms against acting otherwise.

                            Which probably kept me out of a prison/morgue a few times so far.



                            • #15
                              Go for it! And congratulations on getting healthier AND the awareness awakening!

                              Try this mental image: we are all various fish, living in the ocean together. A few of us are sharks, solitary and devouring everything in sight; a few of us are too scared of anything and everything and live hidden in coral caves until extreme hunger forces us to dart out furtively for a little sustenance; and a couple are other things like anemones and sponges; but most of us are fish that school in variously sized schools - that would be you (and me). Now, we all are stuck in our individual bodies with our own individual brains and all the thinking and wishing that comes from having a brain, and we are all swimming to and fro, trying to stay alive and please ourselves or sometimes each other. Of necessity, at any one time you will be swimming alongside other fish (that would be the folks who align with your current direction) and or away from/opposite other fish (the folks who have different agendas). None of the fish who aren't swimming with you are "wrong" - they just aren't going in your direction. (You wanting to swim your own direction isn't wrong either.) And like any school of fish, there are some to a lot of individuals who ARE going your way. Some will swim with you all the way down the EAC or the Gulf Stream, and others will get off at other spots before that. Still no big deal. And once in a while you will meet another fish you just know you need to make the time to take a fishy bender with just they need it and deserve it - but that doesn't happen every day.

                              So, Superbeast, go swimming and see who ends up in the lane with you, no apologies! I have no doubt that you are capable of a tactful, but definite "no" when some other fish wants you to swim with them and you don't wanna. You aren't going to turn into a sea snake just because you now have discovered more of your will. Honest.
                              I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC