Humans have no trouble acting selfishly. We come into this world selfish, as you’ve noticed if you’ve ever raised children. However, what isn’t natural is thinking about others’ needs, seeing others’ realities, and taking the desires of others into account.
Defining selflessness can be challenging. Many people would say that true selflessness doesn’t exist because even if you’re doing something without expecting a reward, you still gain something, like the warm feeling you get when you help someone. To be selfless means sacrificing yourself for the benefit of someone else. People often say that parents are the best example of selflessness because they always put their child’s best interests ahead of their own without expecting anything in return.
Some people aren’t parents and live selflessly. However, if you’re not one of those people and have a more self-centered mindset, the good news is that you can incorporate selflessness into your everyday lives.
The meaning of selflessness.
The dictionary defines selflessness as the lack of preoccupation with one’s own interests, advancement, desires, etc., and attentiveness to those of others or unselfishness. Being selfless means caring about others and acting on your desire to help others without expecting compensation or accolades for your help. To be selfless is to have a profound love for others, express it and not be judgmental toward others.
Selflessness means giving your money, time or donating items you don’t use anymore. It’s focusing on others and showing concern. Genuine selflessness means acting on your desire to do the right thing. Selflessness is empathy, compassion, and love. In Philippians 2:3-4, the apostle Paul tells us that if we want to follow God’s way of life, we need to let go of our natural tendencies and adopt supernatural ones. To be selfless as God is, we have to let go of our natural inclinations and start acting more like him. Here are some reasons why selflessness is essential.
Selflessness improves relationships.
Selflessness enhances every relationship, whether parent-child, friendships, or romantic relationships. The reason is that when everyone focuses on caring for and helping each other, it’s more likely that everyone’s needs will be met. At the same time, when we practice selflessness on the people we care about, we show that we genuinely care about them because selflessness is an act of love.
Selflessness keeps you healthy and changes your perspective.
Research indicates that selflessness is linked to inner peace, and inner peace is correlated with lower levels of cortisol, a hormone that’s tied with cardiovascular disease. Being selfless can reduce your risk of a heart attack. Because there are numerous ways to act selflessly, you’ll likely find yourself in various situations. These different encounters can help us broaden our horizons and how we see the world around us.
Selflessness builds connections.
Selflessness can help us form bonds with others because helping others makes us feel good. As a result of our selflessness, the other person feels a sense of gratitude, and the two of you form a bond every time you help each other out.
Selflessness is a form of therapy that gives you peace.
The feeling of satisfaction and joy you feel as a result of acting selflessly can bring you a sense of peace. It can also be a type of therapy because when we focus on others, we take the attention away from ourselves and get away from our troubles, even if it’s for a moment. It can help you look at the world in a positive light.
Why does selflessness matter?
One reason why selflessness matters is that it helps keep us connected to humanity. A phrase says, “There’s no I in team.” In his latest book, “Uncommon Influence: Saying Yes to a Purposeful Life,” Tony Dungy says that a habitually selfish teammate will eventually find himself without a team. On the other hand, a consistently selfless teammate will have his team’s respect for years or decades to come.
When we act selflessly to benefit someone else, we show love to that person or animal. We can also benefit from acting selflessly because we take our attention away from ourselves and focus on the person or entity we’re helping. Furthermore, being more thoughtful helps us be more receptive and observant of the needs of others. Acting selflessly helps us work on our empathetic nature.
How to practice selflessness.
There are numerous ways to practice acting selflessly. This idea might not come as a surprise, but the first step to practicing selflessness is performing one random act of kindness daily. It doesn’t have to be the same act every time, but the action could be hugging someone who needs it, holding the door open for someone or helping a friend move into their new apartment. As long as you’re aiding for the sake of helping, you’re practicing selflessness.
Another way to practice selflessness is to be an active listener when someone is talking to you. Sometimes, we find that our minds wander when someone is talking to us. This occurrence is regular, but try to pull yourself back into the moment instead of allowing yourself to entertain your wandering mind. Take the time to listen to them and what they’re saying; They’ll know you care when you give your undivided attention. Being an active listener allows us to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes because we understand their perspective.
Volunteering is also a tremendous, selfless act because you’re donating your time, one of the most precious assets. You could volunteer in places like libraries, schools, churches, and numerous other areas. If you don’t have the time to donate, you could also practice selflessness by donating your money to charity. At the end of his chapter on selflessness, Tony Dungy discusses how his sons used to love fishing with him until they got older. Once they grew up and could choose how to spend their time, fishing was the last thing on their list. Instead of forcing them to fish with him, Dungy decided to participate in activities they liked doing, the perfect example of selflessness.