Lack of self preservation is not a virtue. If you put others interests so far ahead of yourself that you become vulnerable or victimized, you end up putting not only yourself, but the community in danger. Every adult should work to ensure they can stand on their own and not weigh down the group. The elderly, the children, the sick, the injured need protection and support from the community. But if you invite attack, seek self-destruction you are being selfish, cowardly and arrogant. Why do you deserve this special treatment? Why do you get to indulge and then lean on those who used restraint?
Putting others first is based on the assumption that you are full and complete; healthy and stable. However, so many people believe in the image more than the reality. They see strong, or presumably strong people, putting others ahead of them. They see the praise they get. And seeking praise, they try to emulate the behavior. But if you do not have the resources to support yourself, you should not be donating to the welfare of others, because you just create a vacuum of need in a different place — with you.
This is true for money, food and other tangible resources but it is also true for safety and well-being. And these are the most dangerous to give away foolishly because they are harder to replenish. And when there is a deficit, the loss of safety grows exponentially and takes other resources and the safety of others with it. It’s a black hole. When you lack protection you put the rest of us at risk. This is true in your physical safety as well as your emotional safety.
The modern dating world and society is filled with #YOLO proclamations, the Fear of Missing Out is now as big a social pressure as the fear of not fitting in.
Currently there’s such a push to be a victim. The desire is for the praise in being either associated with the kind of person living in abundance who can give to others, or the kind of person who has struggled, harder than others supposedly, to work their way back from the black hole void.
Showing a lack of self-investment and self-protection is supposed to announce to others that you have achieved an enlightened superior state.
The problem here is twofold. Not only is it indulgent to put yourself at risk for pride and praise but you are a threat to the community by making yourself a liability. The strong protect the vulnerable. That is the unspoken (and spoken) contract of a healthy society. The strong protect the children, the elderly and the sick. This arrangement depends on the assumption that there will be more strong than weak, so that our resources are not depleted to exhaustion and more weakness. The strong need to stay strong, and the weak need to get stronger in the case of our youth.
If you choose to weaken yourself, you put the whole of the community at risk. You remove yourself from the ranks of the strong and you lay a burden on the resources of the strong. There is less available for the children, the elderly and the sick.
Self-preservation is critical. And yet we have a society that embraces and glorifies self-destruction and weakness. We all want to be the victim. We promote our own dysfunctions and weaknesses. The most viral and brave stories are our stories of defeat and pain. We celebrate or mental illnesses and vulnerabilities. I am depressed! I am anxious! I am a rape victim! I am a recovering Whatever!
It is rare that we celebrate the strong but when we do, we tend to only celebrate the strong who have climbed out of weakness. I can certainly appreciate this because it takes a great deal of strength to overcome. So I am not dismissing that as admirable. But where is the admiration for those who preserve themselves? Where is the praise for those who do not have to climb out of void because they never jumped into the abyss? Where is the glory for those whose beauty lacks scars because they were smart enough not to play with fire? Where is the celebration for those who do not indulge in self-destruction because they want to remain strong and ready to catch the reckless?
Self preservation is an under appreciated trait but is the crux of our strength as a community. We have got to stop glorifying dysfunction, depravity, victimization and self-destruction if we are going to be stable.