Do you know anyone who is like this?
Always wanting more for his or her own self? Doesn’t want to give? Doesn’t want to be patient and sacrifice?
What he or she wants is for people to give to him or her? Wants to get and own everything? Doesn’t think about the welfare of others? Doesn’t think of anyone else but his or her own self?
Whether we admit it or not, it seems like being selfish is our default setting. It’s easier for us to be selfish instead of to become selfless. We need a very big effort to become selfless, unlike when it comes to being selfish, it seems to come out naturally.
Observe the children around you. Even if you don’t teach them to be selfish when it comes to their toys and their food, their natural response would be to keep things for themselves. You will know this by the words that they keep on saying like “No, mine!” or “This is mine!”
This is why we need to teach our children to share and to be generous. If we don’t do this, they will grow up thinking that there is nothing wrong with hoarding or being selfish.
What are the signs and symptoms of being selfish?
When eating at a buffet, you want to get so much food, and even if your plate is already full, and even if there are so many people in line behind you, you want to keep getting more for yourself, thinking it will run out soon.
It’s such a struggle for you to fall in line. As much as possible, you don’t want to fall in line. You always want to be first.
It’s not part of your values to give and to share. During those moments that you do give and share to others, you are always expecting something in return or you are always longing for credit and recognition.
You have the habit of always asking for something even if you are not in lack. You do not think of the needs and welfare of other people – what is important for you is yourself. You also don’t want any inconvenience – you don’t want to adjust, or make sacrifices for others.
I know that all of us are guilty of these things. Oftentimes, we don’t notice it but we are already being selfish in our own way, and that other people are already being affected by it. Oftentimes, we think that it’s our right to get this or to receive this, but we fail to realize that we are operating in self-entitlement and selfishness.
So why is it that there are people who are selfish? I can only think of three reasons:
Our parents and family have a very big role when it comes to our values and character right now. It is in our own homes that everything starts, and our foundations are set and established.
Yes, we grow up and mature, and begin to make our own choices, but we can’t deny the fact that our choices are influenced by our upbringing. If we grew up in a home that didn’t teach us about values like selflessness, it’s a big possibility that we would not have this value even when we are already grown up.
You may have some insecurities, resentment, jealousy, anxiousness, bitterness, envy, and many other negative feelings in your heart. And these may be the root of your selfishness.
Maybe your selfishness is becoming a cover-up for these negative feelings that you are experiencing. We cannot expect to have a selfless attitude if we have these negative feelings in our hearts. If our hearts are pure, I’m sure that no trace of selfishness can be seen in our actions.
At the end of the day, regardless of the people surrounding us, and regardless of what we are going through in life – whether or not we are in lack and whether or not we have been taught how to be selfless, we still have a choice.
We hold our lives. It is us who has full control over our hearts and minds. We have the ability to choose what our response will be in every situation. We have the choice. The good news is, we also have a choice to make things right, and be selfless.
It’s not easy to be selfless, yes. But whenever we are struggling to be selfless, let’s look at the life of Christ. He is the perfect example of selflessness.
He gave His all for us because of His great love for us. He even died on the cross for us. We have no right to be selfish before other people because God Himself did not withhold anything from us. He was selfless until the end.
THINK. REFLECT. APPLY.
Are you struggling to be selfless? What do you think is the reason behind your selfishness? Have you checked the condition of your heart? (Chinkee Tan)