Sunday, February 7, 2010

Self Interest vs. Caring

I made a statement to my dh tonight that most people very seldom look beyond themselves in a way that enables them to care for others. He disagreed with me and promptly went to bed.

I felt that his inability to understand my perspective, or stay up the extra 15 minutes it would have taken for me to unwind, pretty much proved my point. Even when someone truly loves you, and I believe dh does truly love me, their self interest comes before their care taking.

In perfect situations, I think the mothering instinct/gene/ability surpasses self interest. In part, this is true because by the time you've nurtured another being 9 months they are a part of your self interest. I've read studies that show infants are unable to differentiate between themselves and their mothers. I think the same could be true of mothers. God's plan of nurturing benefits society as a whole.

DH and I also had a conversation tonight about my need to protect those I love, i.e. children and dog. I wonder if the constant caretaking of others creates a chemical/mechanical/autonomic necessity for protecting them.

It takes me back to thinking about the role of self interest and nurturing. Being a nurturer, is it in my self interest to see that those I've cared for are safe and secure. Does that make me more successful/secure/happy? Is my need to care for my children and pet really just an extension of my self interest? Should I be able to look more objectively at a situation rather than springing to protection and nurturing?

As a nurturing individual, is it possible to confuse self interest with caring?

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