Have you ever been the kind of person who has regularly looked for an angle in which to pursue your own ends and interests when it comes to the things you involve yourself with in life? If you have, then you’ve spent time doing something that so many of us are guilty of at some point or another, and that’s self-seeking.
My first sponsor in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) often said to me that I was synonymous with the term self-seeking. In fact, there were quite a few occurrences of me calling her up on the phone and talking about the latest drama in my life, which only resulted in her responding that I had been a self-seeker and brought it on myself.
To be a self-seeker simply meant that with every action I took, my motivation was usually all about what I was going to get out of taking that action. In other words, I rarely took any action unless I was going to get something out of it. Friends would call me to ask for my help in doing their household move from one place to another and I’d want to know that a meal would be provided. In AA, I often only chose those sponsees to help through the twelve steps because I was attracted to them, or thought they seemed relatively cool and would make great friends. There were times I’d go out for a meal with someone who I really didn’t even like that much only because I knew they would cover the check. I’d only go to certain recovery meetings where I knew I’d be able to go in front of a podium, or raise my hand, just to speak for awhile and have the spotlight on me. If my family or close loved ones asked me to do any specific chore for them, I’d do it and then store it away as a poker chip that I could cash in later when I needed something in return from them. I was selective about the people who I treated to various things such as meals or trips because I was trying to impress them or draw them closer in, while there were others who I also considered friends that I never did anything of the sort for. All of this really just boiled down to one thing, selfishness and self-centeredness.
Thankfully, I have worked quite hard in the last few years to shed that self-seeking, selfish, and self-centered skin I wore so tightly around me. That really only came about through getting closer to my Higher Power. Before that, it was such a joke to me when people looked my way and laughed as they said I was being a self-seeker again. What I never realized was that was one of the main reasons why they kept their distance from me. Why would anyone really want to be close to someone who is constantly thinking of only themselves? All my conversations, all the times I was with people, and even all the times I was alone, I was focusing on what I could get out of life and not what I could contribute to it.
Self-seeking is self-serving. And self-serving is just plain self-centeredness. To grow deeper spiritually, any of this type of behavior must absolutely be removed from oneself. I am grateful that my walk with God has helped me to migrate away from that old me who was only ever looking for that angle on what I could get out of life itself. Just yesterday, I received that confirmation of this growth from my sister of all people, who was once someone that constantly told me how self-seeking I always was.
She had been struggling with her job, as well as with some health issues and instead of me quickly shifting the focus away from her opening up to me, I spent the majority of the conversation listening to her and asking questions that ended up helping her. As she was getting ready to end the phone call due to her next engagement, she said thank you and told me it was the first time she felt I was really there for her and it wasn’t all about my drama or me lecturing her. I took that as an amazing sign that all my work to grow closer to God is truly guiding me in the right direction and I’m finally feeling that my life is becoming more meaningful.
If you are searching for a more meaningful or spiritual based life as I have been, I encourage you to take a moment, breathe, and ask yourself whether you’re always looking for that angle on what you can get out of the actions you take in life. If you are, then you’re being self-seeking just like I once did with regularity. This will only continue to take you in the exact opposite direction of a life that is filled with spiritual depth and meaning. If you really want to change that direction, all you need to do is what I did. Pray to a Higher Power daily to become more selfless and pray to be filled with a lot more love and light. In doing so, I’m sure that you’ll then begin to see, your self-seeking will slip away for good.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson