3 Ways to Fight Against Selfishness in Life

3 Ways to Fight Against Selfishness in Life

Being selfish is a very human characteristic.  In fact, it’s reasonable to argue that selfishness is one of the most intrinsic elements of human nature.  Most people automatically see and experience life from an individual perspective which is inwardly focused.  Unfortunately, constant selfishness has the effect of alienating or even harming others around you over time.  The reason why empathy is considered a virtue is because empathy creates opportunities for people to override base selfish instincts in order to accomplish a collective public good.  If you struggle a lot with being unselfish or empathetic, here are a few tips to change your perspective and introduce more selflessness in your behavior:

     I. Don’t be Defensive:
     Try to avoid seeing challenges to your perception as threats to your person. View them instead as a chance to learn about alternative points of view. Be the kind of person who seeks to learn constantly from life’s experiences, and respect the fact that you might not have all the answers.  There’s plenty to learn from the unknown, as long as you have an open mind.

     II. Choose Your Language Carefully:
     There’s an ancient proverb which says, “what you confess, is what you possess.” The meaning of this proverb is that words are powerful, so powerful that the manner in which you express yourself can dictate your own attitudes and beliefs.  If you want to be more unselfish, practice compassionate expression.  Be optimistic in the things you say, and embrace others through the words that you speak.  If your language is approachable and courteous, you will have a wider capacity to address other people’s needs without experiencing conflict.

     III. Don’t Be Impulsive:
     The reason why selfishness is such a pronounced trait in some people is because they’re hasty to look out for their own interests.  Instead of being guided by gratuitous emotion, take pauses in your decision-making process, and weigh out your options.  A dose of restraint helps you make informed decisions and gives you more time to detect blind spots in your biased perspective.

     Without stepping out of your own constructed truth, and into a more neutral perception of others, you may find that unconsciously, a lot of what you perceive is guided by selfish bias.  It’s important to realize that selfish thinking and behavior comes at a cost.  Selfishness might benefit you in the short term, but in the long term, it drains away the stability in your relationships and forces you to face life’s challenges without the support of companionship.  There’s nothing wrong with placing value on your individual interests, but if you do so at the expense of other people’s well-being, then selfishness will end up depriving you of success and happiness.