Everybody is bound to be selfish from time to time. Although many elements of our society may encourage it, selfishness just hurts other people, sometimes at little to no personal gain. A selfish person also ends up losing friends or loved ones because no matter how charming or interesting a selfish person may be, a relationship with a selfish person is hard to maintain.
A truly selfish person would never consider the possibility that they are selfish. Many think selfishness and pride are good things, and that putting the needs of others above your own is for suckers. If you’re worried that you’re too selfish and want to be on the path to gratitude and humility, then see Step 1 to get started.
STEP 1: Change Your Perspective
- Practice putting yourself last. If you’re a selfish person, then chances are that you’re always looking for #1, well, first. You’ve got to change that as soon as you can if you want to start living a life filled with joy and free of selfishness. The next time you’re doing something, whether you’re in line at a buffet or waiting for your seat on the bus, stop and let the other people have what they want first, whether it’s food, comfort, or ease.
- Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Walking a mile in another man’s shoes can change your life for eternity. Of course, you won’t be able to actually do this, but you can put in the effort into thinking about the other people around you and considering how they might be feeling in any given situation. Consider how your mother, your friend, your boss, or a random person on the street may be feeling before you take action, and you may find that the world isn’t as clean cut as you thought it was.
- Remember that you’re not more important than anyone else.
- Don’t let your past dictate your future. Okay, so maybe all of your friends, coworkers, and neighbors think of you as the most selfish person in the world. You may be finding it difficult to break out of that pattern or to have other people view you as something other than what they expected you to be. Well, stop thinking that way and learn to move forward and to become a new person.
STEP 2: Caring for Others
- Do favors for your friends just because. Doing a favor for your friends just so they will do you a favor is selfish. Doing a favor for your friends just because they need the help, or because it’ll feel good to help someone else, is the right way to go about it. If you want to stop being selfish, then look for opportunities to help your friends, just because they need the help, not for any ulterior motives. You don’t want to be that person who has a reputation of helping people only when he needs something from them; that’s just as bad as not helping at all.
- Take the time to really listen. Selfish people are notoriously bad listeners.
- Show an interest in people. Listening to people is a great way to show interest in them. Another thing you can do is to ask people questions, from their opinions on the local news to their experiences as children. You don’t have to interrogate them to show a casual interest in them as human beings, and to let them see that you really do care what they think about or what they’re struggling with.
- Volunteer your time. Volunteering can open up your world and make you see that there are so many people out there who are so much less fortunate than you are.
STEP 3: Being Considerate
- Learn to compromise. If you want to stop being selfish, then you’ve got to learn to compromise. This means seeing that it’s better to be happy than to get what you want, that other people have needs too, and that you can’t always get what you want.
- Thank people. Selfish people think that they deserve the best treatment and that they deserve to be spoiled, and that’s just not the case. If someone does something nice for you, whether they are complimenting you or giving you a ride to class, you should be grateful and thank them for their actions instead of just acting like it’s perfectly normal that they want to do favors for you. Don’t expect kindness or understanding and be grateful when it comes your way.