One of my least favourite phrases is ‘You know the world doesn’t revolve around you Stephen!’ My wife, Fionnuala, has been known occasionally (as in most days) to direct this comment in my direction.
It drives me nuts because I am clearly one of the least selfish people I know. I work hard. I provide for our kids (see The Bank Of Dad blog for details), I love my wife and, despite my appalling DIY and cookery skills, try to help around the house. I don’t drink, smoke or take drugs (does a serious Diet Coke dependency count?)
I pay my taxes and give to charities. I help out several homeless people I have befriended in the city centre. I am an all round good bloke. Or so I keep telling myself.
The other morning I got out of bed and went downstairs to raid the cupboards for breakfast. As I opened one to get some bread to toast I was delighted to see a loaf of Nutty Krust sliced plain bread staring back at me. My favourite bread to toast. And even better the heel (or crust) was still intact. This is my favourite part of my favourite loaf.
The slight downside to this was it is also Fionnuala’s favourite part of the loaf. Given this we have always had an uneasy understanding in recent years that when such a loaf is purchased we take one heel (the slice at either end of the loaf) apiece. Anyone who dared eat both heels would be guilty of a breach of said treaty punishable by death. Or at the very least the silent treatment for the remainder of the day.
A few weeks ago there was an outrageous violation of this age old contract. One of the aforementioned parties ate both heels! In order to save their embarrassment I will not name this person. But they weren’t female and their name did not begin with the letter ‘F’.
So I found myself the other day alone in the kitchen. Just me and the Nutty Krust luring me onto the rocks of toasting temptation. On one hand the delicious heel. On the other the wrath of my better half.
I did the honourable thing, closed the cupboard door reluctantly, and took a banana from the fruit bowl. I was once more a wonderful human being and my act of loving selflessness was no doubt making the angelic hosts above weep with joy.
But it made me think. Was I really such a selfless soul? I have a very needy personality. My default setting is to be liked. I avoid confrontation at all costs. But this means I often put the needs of myself above the needs of others. And I thought of the countless times I had put my own selfish, sinful needs in front of the people who really matter. My wife and children.
That morning in the kitchen was a tiny victory. But I have a massive hill to climb before I can even come remotely close to the selfless person I want to be. We all do. This is a selfie culture after all. But it was a start.
The world does not revolve around you Stephen….
How do you rate yourself on the selfometer?
When was the last time you put someone else in front of yourself?
What is your favourite breakfast?