Recently I have been inundated with conversations about selfishness. I recently shared some thoughts about the affects selfishness can have on marriage in 5 Dangerous Things Selfishness Brings To Marriage. It is apparent that something is happening in our culture that is creating an environment for selfishness to flourish. There are dangers associated with selfishness that are toxic to relationships of any kind. We are naturally selfish and begin to exhibit these traits as a baby. We grow up listening to our personal radio station WIIFM, what’s in it for me. To overcome our selfish traits, it requires us to be intentional. There are some specific things that we can do to help us deal with our own selfishness.
Think of Others
When you are faced with choices and opportunities you should take a few moments and think of how the choice you are getting ready to make will affect the other people in your life or organization. Taking a few minutes to consider the consequences of your actions or words and how they may impact the lives and emotions of others will help us escape the “me only” mentality that affects our sometimes selfish choices. There are virtually no choices that we make in this life that do not have some type of effect on those around us. There is a great verse in the Bible to help remind us of this. Philippians 2:3 says “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Allow others to be considered first in the conversation.
One of the best tools in helping us overcome selfishness is giving. Practicing regular generosity is life-changing. One of the basics of giving is remembering to be thoughtful of the ones that we say we love on special days such as Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries. Beyond that, regular, unappointed generosity creates in us a lifestyle and worldview where we learn to give to others. It may be additional thoughtful things for those special people in our lives or for a stranger behind us in a drive thru at a fast food restaurant. My worldview prompts me to give systematically in the form of giving to my church. If church is not a part of your life, there are many other organizations where voluntary contributions are their way of survival and they are glad to find those who regularly support their cause. Find something that you can support and learn to be a giver.
Humility is defined as a modest or low view of one’s own importance. I have heard it said that you do not have to think less of yourself but you do need to think of yourself less. This is the practice of humility. It is truly a practice. It is something that requires consistent attention and recognition. There are times we may be perceived as having a “false humility”. Having genuine humility comes from the consistent practice of being humble. Some of that practice is accomplished by thinking of others and giving which we have already discussed, but it may also be practiced by being gracious in every situation and living with integrity in all of our relationships. Humility allows us to put into perspective our own importance.
We need our relationships to flourish and one of the most important things we can learn that will improve our relationships is to overcome our selfish nature and put into practice better habits that help us become a person for whom relationships prosper instead of suffer.
Start Learning and Growing Today
Subscribe now for weekly insights into family, business and life