You may not realize you’re being selfish until someone points it out. Then what? You learn how to stop being selfish and start being selfless.
Being selfish is a confusing thing. Everyone talks about self care and putting yourself first, but how do you do that without becoming selfish? Is it possible to learn how to stop being selfish?
Often times, you don’t even know when you’re being selfish until someone tells you. Being selfish can sometimes feel like human nature. Your first thought is about you and what you want. How do you begin to change that?
Why you should stop being selfish
Some people may think being selfish is good. And in some ways it can be. When you are focusing on success or not settling in romance. Putting yourself first in some cases is beneficial to those around you. If you don’t care for yourself, how are you supposed to care for others?
As true as this is, if someone is telling you that you’re selfish you have a lot to think about and reflect on. Are you being selfish when it is necessary? Or are you putting your interests before the needs of the people that are most important in your life?
If your selfishness is getting in the way of your relationships, you have some changing to do.
How to stop being selfish
If you are a selfish person it can be hard to break that pattern, at least at first. You are used to putting yourself first. But once you start being a little more selfless not only will you feel better, but your relationships will prosper as well.
Everything from a small act of kindness to a grand gesture can set you up to stop being selfish.
#1 Ask for help. If you don’t know where to begin on your journey to learn how to stop being selfish, ask for some advice from a friend. The people that know you the best will be able to tell you where to begin. A true friend will also tell you exactly when you are being selfish so you can be aware of those moments.
Also ask them why they are still friends with you even though you are often selfish. This will let you know your best qualities and how you can put a focus on them.
#2 Do not buy people. A lot of selfish people think they are kind or selfless because they do something nice. But if that nice thing is buying an expensive gift, was it really for them? Was this something they wanted or something you wanted the credit for buying?
Did you want to give them the best gift or really show them you care? Buying gifts is all fine and good, but if that is how you show you care rather than being considerate, listening, and being there, you may have some self reflection to do.
#3 Pay attention. Some people who are selfish are in their own world and don’t take others into consideration. And although it may not be out of cruelty, but ignorance, it is still selfish. So next time you are at work, with family, or on public transportation look around.
Should you stand up so an elderly person can sit? Should you hold the door for someone behind you? Just glancing up from your phone and getting out of your own head can open your eyes to the opportunities for selfless behavior you never even thought about.
#4 Care. This seems obvious, right? But how do you just start caring? Well, looking up this article on how to stop being selfish is a start. You may care deeply for the people in your life, but haven’t been too great at showing that.
To do so, spend sometime thinking about them when they aren’t around. What are all the things your closest friends and family have done for you? How can you show them you care that much too?
#5 Think about the impact of your actions. When you are selfish, you tend to think about yourself a majority of the time. How will your action affect you? Will you get a promotion? Do you get something out of it? Instead, think about how what you do will impact others.
Will tattling on a coworker’s mistake get you a promotion? Or will it get them fired? Will missing your niece’s school play give you time to go to a concert? Or will it disappoint her?
#6 Take a step back. Look at your life from someone else’s perspective. From your own, it probably looks great. You are happy. You do what you want when you want and answer to no one. But are you really happy? Or are you blissfully unaware of how lonely you are?
Are you fulfilled? Do you have people who would do anything for you and that you would do anything for?
#7 Volunteer. Sometimes, being aware of others is not easy. You follow your normal routine and just live your life. But in order to really see how much you can give, you need to see what people need.
Volunteer at a soup kitchen, at a homeless shelter, make some meals and give them out to people on the street. Truly seeing those in need may open your eyes to what you can offer to others.
#8 Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Whether it be your assistant, your sister, or the guy you see at the convenience store begging for change, put yourself in their position.
If you were being treated horribly by your boss but working your ass off, wouldn’t you deserve some reassurance or at least respect? If you had a sister who never asked for anything from you except some time to spend together, wouldn’t that seem reasonable? If you were begging for spare change, wouldn’t you appreciate the smallest gesture?
#9 Who do you know that is selfish? Look at your life. There must be someone that you think is selfish and never cares about you. Well, think about that. Is that how you want to be seen by the people in your life? When you think about that person and how you would prefer them to be, focus those changes on yourself.
It is hard to see your worst qualities, but when looking at someone else, you can pinpoint them immediately. You just have to see the similarities so you can make a change.
#10 Think ahead. Think about the future, and not just yours. It is easy to think about how you want your life to turn out. But considering others in the decisions that lead you there is so important.
Maybe you want to be making six figures in the next five years, but does that mean you would be willing to put your job in front of your relationship? Maybe you want to travel the world, but will you be home to spend the holidays with your family?