Selfishness Vs. Selflessness

Chloe Bobar - Ecuador


September 29, 2010

My mind serves as an arena for the constant conflict between selfishness and selflessness. I want to believe that my actions are inspired by the latter of these forces, but as I sit here trying to answer the question, “What do I want to achieve out of my Global Citizen Year?” I cannot help but feel as though many of my goals for the upcoming seven months are selfish: learning a new language, changing my perspective, understanding another culture, gaining insight on my passions, becoming more independent, aware, mature, focused. I want to be grounded, having a better grasp of the person that I am.

On the other hand, I want to make a lasting impact on my host community. Although the people I meet will inevitably help me more than I could possibly help them, I want to somehow give back. I want to accomplish all of these aforementioned goals because I believe that they will be my first transformative movement toward being a part of something that is not only selfless by nature, but is much greater than I am: a movement of individuals who believe change is possible and strive to spark that change. If I do not take the seemingly selfish steps toward my own self-development, then I will not have the skills, the confidence, or the inspiration to be a part of that movement.

And herein lies the equilibrium of two human responses. I am okay with the fact that the battlefield in my thoughts is always active because the struggle between selfishness and selflessness is ultimately what allows me to look through different viewpoints. Each new situation demands that one overcomes the other, inspiring my actions. But this is fleeting. In the end, I do not want one to triumph over the other. The conflict forces me to remain aware of my surroundings.

So, what do I want to achieve out of my Global Citizen Year? Well, my musings above are one way to answer the question. The other way is more direct: in seven months, I will know that my year was successful if I can rap in well-articulated, fast-paced, rhythmic Spanish.

Chloe Bobar