Sunday, December 01, 2013

To Appreciate Someone Else Is to Be Concerned With One's Self-Interest on a Very Deep, Emotional Level

Stuart K. Hayashi

You might say to me, "I bought your book because I anticipated that I would find it insightful and enjoyable. And my prediction was correct. That was money well-spent." That would warm my heart. I would find it very flattering. ^_^

Or you might say to me, "I consider you a lousy writer. Your philosophy is garbage. I predicted that your book would be terrible. I purchased the book and read it, and I was correct in my prediction. God-awful. The reason I bought your book was that I could tell you're hard-up for money, and I figured that buying your book would be more face-saving for you than giving you money outright. You're welcome." That would . . . not be so flattering. :-(

In either scenario, I would receive the same amount of money. But the first scenario is better than the second. In the first scenario, I feel so much more appreciated, exactly because I know that you gain something from me -- that you recognize that it is in your self-interest to associated with me; that you seek me out because you feel enriched by me.

In other words, I feel better when people associate with me for their own selfish reasons, rather than because they hate me and feel that associating with me is charity that they direct toward me.

When I say that that I like it when people seek me out for their own selfish reasons, I don't want to be misunderstood. It would not be good if someone disliked me, but needed my help for tutoring. Maybe that person asks me for tutoring, and I provide it. That person gets the help needed from me, and then resumes disrespecting me. That is seeking me out for ostensibly self-interested reasons (in a rather shortsighted, short-term fashion), but that is definitely not being appreciated. What that other person wanted from me, was something very impersonal; I was treated as an object.

When I say that I feel valued when other people consider it to be in their self-interest to be around me, I mean this: I feel appreciated when other people experience a very deep, personal, emotional gain from having my company or reading my works.