Social Animals
WATCH OUT: Greed might not be an instict.

A lawyer parked his BMW at the side of the road and opened the door.

As he climbed out, a car sped around the corner and ripped the door off its hinges.

The driver didn’t stop and the lawyer was outraged.

When the police arrived the lawyer whined, “Officer, look what that maniac did to my Beemer! You have to chase him down and arrest him!”

The policeman was not impressed: “You lawyers are so materialistic, you make me sick. You’re so upset about your stupid car that you haven’t notice your arm was torn off in the accident.”

“Oh my God….” gasped the lawyer, finally noticing the bloody stump, “…my Rolex!”

That joke should be totally ridiculous but I think it works because most of us can imagine it actually happening.

Some people value their possessions over health issues and the welfare of others, but that doesn’t mean being self-centred is our natural state.

I don’t think looking out for number one is an instinct we need to overcome if we want to be decent human beings.

I prefer to see it as a necessary trait that can get distorted when we are not in touch with other instincts.

I heard a story recently that I think supports that point of view.

It is set in England where people rarely stay as non-paying guests in other peoples’ homes for more than a few days but I think the main lesson is valid for people everywhere.

The tale features a working woman, her employed daughter and son, both of whom are living at home and paying rent, and the son’s girlfriend.

The girlfriend goes to university in another city and she first came to stay with the family during her Christmas holidays.

That went well, but when her classes ended and she returned for an open-ended stay a few months ago the tension began to build. I

nterestingly, though, it wasn’t just the mum and the rent-paying daughter who were uncomfortable with someone staying for free; the girl herself became more and more self-conscious as time went by.

Eventually, according to the mum, she just stayed in the son’s room when anyone else was in the house and tried to hide the fact that she was eating the food the others were paying for.

She didn’t have much money and she didn’t want to pay rent but her decision to hide also meant she wasn’t helping with the washing up and other chores and that resulted in her being far from happy with herself.

When the mum finally spelled out that she didn’t have to pay rent but needs to help with the chores she brightened up and got stuck in.

She now tells anyone interested in listening that she is a functioning member of the family and appears to have far more self-confidence than she did when she was hiding.

Sure, taking care of ourselves is an instinct, but being selfish isn’t always the best way to do that.

A systematic search for emotional support dog letter was undertaken by searching nine databases and making a scoping review of grey literature from the earliest record until March 2017.

We are social animals so quite often being unselfish and helping others is the best way to go. Doing that makes it easier for others to like us, but more importantly, it helps us to like ourselves.

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