5 Steps To Become Less Selfish If You Want To

What  you stand to gain by making addressable changes.

 

 

 

Although many people consider selfishness a negative trait, they may want to take a more nuanced look at it. In some instances, selfishness can be for the betterment of others. In others, it’s simply a matter of looking out for only oneself. Whichever the case, selfishness often comes in many shades of grey.

Editors Note: This is a three-part series on what it means to be selfish. In part one, the author focuses on what being selfish means and when it may or may not be okay to be selfish. In part two, she focuses on recognizing if you’re a selfish person. And in part three, the focus is on steps you can take to be less selfish and what you can gain by doing so.

In the first two articles in this series, I explored what it means to be selfish, including the positive and negative aspects of being selfish. Selfishness historically has been an important human trait enabling us as a people to survive over time. Today, there continue to be times when “being selfish” is necessary. But ultimately, being too selfish—or too frequently selfish—costs more than it benefits.

If you think your selfishness is costing you more than what you’re receiving in return, you might want to consider taking steps to turn your selfishness around. To do this, you need to seek to embrace a more balanced approach to your life and your relationships.

5 Steps To Help You Become Less Selfish—If You Want To

1)    Begin self-monitoring:

Regularly taking stock of what you do can be a lot of work, but if you want to change, it helps to understand what you’re doing and how often you’re doing it.

This first step requires consciously monitoring your activities, behaviors and thoughts. You can do this throughout your day or at specific intervals.

You can’t monitor every action you take and every thought you have, but you can take note of how you spend your time. This includes not only what you do, but the time you spend planning your time and how often you think about what you want.

It’s important to be aware that time spent constantly thinking about or monitoring your own behaviors may not be a sign that you’re being selfish, but instead an indicator of stress, anxiety, and other mental and emotional concerns. If you notice this pattern, you might want to consult with a physician or counselor to help you better understand your thoughts and actions.

2)    Become more self-aware:

Self-awareness doesn’t necessarily come from self-monitoring—and it doesn’t usually come over night. Self-awareness can involve taking formal steps to gain awareness by taking assessments and working with a coach or counselor.

Self-awareness can also result from doing things outside your normal range of activities, beyond those designed to directly meet your hedonistic needs but that involve joining up with others or meeting the needs of others. This doesn’t necessarily mean being in service to others—though it can—but perhaps joining a sports team or participating in a community project that doesn’t directly benefit your needs or goals.