When most folks hear the word selfish, they think of Scrooge-like people who won’t part with money or their highly prized possessions. True. But being selfish is not always about money. In fact, some of the greatest gifts don’t have any monetary value. To put it simply, you don’t have to be rich to give; your gift can be as simple as a smile. That’s why being selfless is a virtue we should all strive for. Are you selfless or selfish?
There are various types of selfish people. First and foremost, stingy people have no place in their life for kindness, compassion, or charity. Others are egotistical and self-centered. They think the world revolves around them. (Ugh!) Additionally, some folks are lazy. They wouldn’t lift a finger unless their life depended on it. That places a greater burden on the rest of us. Other people are entitled. They demand rewards but refuse to work hard to earn them. Additionally, some folks game the system. They look for clever loopholes — or ways to outsmart rules and regulations — for personal gain and off-load the costs to others. In the same light, some folks win at the expense of others. That involves stealing the credit or getting an undeserved promotion. What’s more, some folks are hypocrites. They have strong opinions about issues but expect others to shoulder the burden. Last, some folks kick the can down the road. They care about their needs today and expect someone else to deal with the problem in the future.
It’s not what you give, but rather that you give.
Be Selfless for Selfish Reasons
Most people instinctively put themselves first. After all, if you don’t fend for yourself, who will? The problem with being selfish is that “what’s in it for me” becomes all-important. That said, when you suggest folks become more selfless, their immediate reaction is that they’re giving something up.
That’s simply not true.
Putting others first doesn’t take something away from you; you gain something incredibly important. Every time you lend a hand, make someone feel special, or help others in need it will make your heart smile. You can take great comfort knowing that you made a difference in someone’s life, which will make you feel good and strengthen your self-worth. Moreover, you’ll obtain side benefits such as winning the trust and respect of people you know. The reality is that being selfless will come back to you in ways you’ll never expect. It will do wonders for your relationships, career, and even your health and well-being. But that’s not why you should behave that way. In fact, don’t give of yourself because you expect something in return, do it because it’s the right thing to do.
Being selfless is not an activity, it’s who you are. It’s being kind and compassionate, putting someone else’s needs ahead of your own, and being genuinely happy for the well-being of others. Just think what the world would be like if everyone cared as much about their neighbor’s happiness as they did their own. As James Keller, the Catholic priest, said, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”
Check out Frank’s latest book, The Path to a Meaningful Life.
Are You Selfless or Selfish?
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