Month: February 2015

The Human Condition and Mourning the Loss of Empathy

By Natasha Sharma

It’s been several weeks since the public funeral of Elijah Marsh, a Toronto toddler who wandered out into the snow in the middle of the night and died of hypothermia. In the aftermath of this heartbreaking tragedy, many an opinion has been expressed in the media about it, ranging from criticism of the amount of money raised for the Marsh family in an online fundraising campaign to cover funeral expenses, to criticism of the perceived cultural phenomenon of mourning the loss of people we don’t know. As a Psychotherapist and mental health expert, and after reading various articles in the media, most notably, a recent piece from a well-known Globe & Mail reporter, I felt compelled to respond with a different perspective on this matter.

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The Importance of Being Selfish

By Natasha Sharma

Can being selfish ever be a good thing? Well, it depends on your definition of ‘selfish.’ The common understanding of what it means to be selfish seems to be the idea of someone looking out for his or her own interests and needs at the expense of others. It’s the last part of this definition – at the expense of others – that makes selfishness the pariah of personality traits that we try to aspire to. But aside from that, the rest of the definition seems pretty reasonable. What is so wrong with looking out for our own interests and needs? In fact being selfish – in the truest sense of the word – means self-awareness and self-care. We are all naturally motivated to be selfish by this definition, and yet so many of us adopt a different understanding of it or are taught to consistently put the needs of others before, and sometimes at the expense of, ourselves.

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