I recently read a teen book about mermaids. It wasn’t a very good book, but something near the end stuck in my mind. The story, written over three books, is about young girls who turn into mermaids after a traumatic experience. In the last book the mermaids discover a way to turn back into humans. The main character in the book is trying to decide whether she should turn back into a human, where she can be with the people who love her (her father and boyfriend), or remain a mermaid (and not be able to see them anymore). As she struggles with the decision, her father tells her she should make her choice based on what she wants, not based on what he and the boy want.
Of course, this advice seems perfectly reasonable on the surface. Aren’t we told to look to ourselves first? To consider number one? But it got me thinking: was it really such good advice? Do we really find joy when we live for ourselves. Every decision we make has a ripple effect on the people around us – should we really leave them out of our consideration? Sure, it may bring us some temporary contentment, but in the long run, isn’t it when we bring joy to others that we discover joy for ourselves? Of course, there are times we need to pursue our dreams and make tough decisions, but when our own desires are our only motivation for doing something, can we really find true and lasting joy?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this, so feel free to leave a response!