Is It All About You? How to Become Selfless

By Howard Peiper

To be selfish is not all bad, but there are many ways in which it can be unloving. It is one thing to be persistent in asking or requiring something, but excessively demanding one’s own way regardless of others’ rights or how they are treated indicates self-centeredness. Self-centered people are not concerned with what others want because they are mostly concerned with themselves. And they can be very insensitive and uncaring when it comes to getting what they want. Self-centered people are often forceful in trying to get their way. They might use manipulation, threats, or any other means to get what they want.

There is a controlling aspect in being overly demanding that actually leads to a lack of control.

As a result, the less control a self-centered person feels in a situation or over someone, the more demanding they may become. Most of us do not like to feel controlled or dominated. There is an old saying, “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.” Love requires that we give people freedom to be themselves, without any restrictions imposed upon them to meet our demands in our way.

Self-centered people feel entitled to what they believe are their rights.

They have certain expectations of people, and they disregard their boundaries if they are in the way. They have a difficult time taking “no” for an answer because the goal is to get what they want. Most people are not comfortable being around a person who is overly demanding. Their selfishness communicates a total disregard for the needs and desires of others. It is the opposite of love which is selfless and giving.

Learn to Enjoy Giving
To be truly selfless is to enjoy giving others first place. Rather than demanding our own way, we can demonstrate love for others by considering their needs important and putting them above our own if possible. To be selfless is to put our own wants and desires aside sometimes and help others get ahead. It is to find true contentment and joy in considering what is in the best of interest of someone else other than just ourselves. It is to seek their good. Selflessness also doesn’t impose its own expectations and desires on someone else. It allows people the freedom to make their own choices. Selflessness respects others’ decisions and loves them regardless of whether or not we agree. When selfless, we treat people properly and respect their boundaries. Selflessness is the essence of love. We cannot have love without selflessness.

•    What comes to mind when we think of someone who is overly demanding?
•    What do we do to get our way?
•    Has anyone ever described us as controlling or bossy?
•    Do we respect others’ boundaries?
•    How do we react when someone crosses our boundaries?
•    What does it mean to be “selfless”?
•    Is it always about me?
•    When we see self-centeredness in others, do we also see it in ourselves?

Real love is when we become selfless and we are more concerned about the other person’s ego. We are now a giver instead of a taker.

Dr. Howard Peiper, N.D. nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, has written several best-selling books on nutrition and natural health. His blog is:

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