Selfish tendencies in all relationships can be a major problem because selfishness promotes individualistic thinking. In order for relationships to grow selfishness must die. Selfishness can come in many different forms in all sorts of relationships: parent/child, intimate, work, and spiritual relationships just to name a few. When a person is selfish they tend to think of themselves only at the cost of others, meaning that although their actions seem to affect others directly they continue on regardless. Selfish people tend to be so focused on their needs and wants that they refuse to think about the ramifications of how their actions will affect others. So how do you know if you have selfish tendencies?……Well hopefully the following will assist:
- Spouses: can be selfish when they only think of themselves, making social arrangements without inviting their spouse. Many incidents of infidelity are based in selfishness in that an individual has decided to fulfill their selfish need outside of the marriage. When couples do not ask or consider the other’s opinions, for instance always picking the restaurant or the movie without consulting with their husband or wife. During sex, men and sometimes women are often selfish when they are only concerned with having an orgasm and do not work to make sure their partner has an orgasm or is completely satisfied as well. When one person wants to control and spend all of the money without consulting the other party. When couples do not say thank you for all the little things that their spouse does on a daily basis, such as cooking, cleaning, taking out the trash etc. When spouses do not recognize when their partner is overwhelmed.
- Parents: can be selfish when they put their love lives before their children, many single parents spend a lot of time engaging in uncommitted, destructive, abusive, and painful relationships. The children are left to witness their parents spiral out of control, chasing love from relationship to relationship. Parents who put their careers before their children by working excessively and leaving their children alone or to be cared for by strangers in daycare centers from 6am to 6pm or longer (depending on the situation, some parents don’t have a choice). This does not leave a lot of time for bonding and care-taking by the parents. But for many mothers the thought never occurs to them to stay home and care for their young children, that they desperately wanted, and worked hard to create.
- Spiritual selfishness: develops when individuals only pray in times of turmoil or emergency. When God is an afterthought then selfishness has occurred. When every prayer is simply for asking for something as opposed to quality time with God where appreciation and thanksgiving is allowed to develop. When individuals only attend church on major holidays such as Easter or when there is some sort of major church celebration.
- Friendships: where the relationship is one-sided, people who call simply to borrow something, to share good news (brag) or to extract some sort of information from a friend. This type of friendship is not reciprocal, there is no give and take, only take.
The good thing about selfishness is that it is not a life sentence, it can be easily remedied with just a few steps. The other good thing about selfishness is that if you determine you are selfish, you are not alone, most people are selfish in some manner (including myself). The key is identifying ways in which you are selfish and working to change. First, sit and have some quiet time to journal and probe your life for selfishness, see if you fit in any of the above categories. Next, ask your love ones if there are times when they notice selfishness in you, this is not an opportunity for your to defend yourself or confront someone else. This is a time for you to listen and learn, and thank them for their honesty. Next, begin to pray and ask God to help you overcome your selfish tendencies. Something that works well in getting the ball rolling is volunteering to help someone who is in need, search your community and find a church or organization that needs your help. Lastly, give without expectation, help and give to others without expecting something in return, not even a thank you. If you are truly giving from the heart, then you are not expecting to be recognized or to have the action reciprocated.