Selfish VS selfless, which one will you let win?

Selfish VS selfless. It is the key to every relationship. Not just with your wife, g/f or friends. Also with work and anyone who you interact with. It is deeper than just those you see all the time as well. Even on the level of an individual person who you will never see again how you treat that interaction determines a lot of how the rest of your day may go.

Being selfless is hard. As humans we naturally tend to want everyone else to do things our way. If we do it a certain way than it must be the best way to go about it. Isn’t it? And this does not even mean that other people are wrong. But when they don’t accomplish goals and tasks the same we do, or would we can become upset.

On a simpler level is our day-to-day interaction with everyone in our sphere of influence. From the driver who wants to change lanes, the lines of traffic merging together leaving a sporting event or the person who you serve at work the level of selfishness we exert is going to have a big effect on our outlook, and attitude. It’s the whole butterfly effect idea. Hopefully when you slow down a bit to let someone in they will do the same and overall the traffic keeps moving (albeit at a reduced pace) instead of becoming stop and go. But being nice to people we won’t see again is almost the easiest thing to do. You won’t see them again. If they slight you it is much easier to brush off.

It’s the long-term relationships where it is so hard to accomplish the goal of selflessness. In family, wife/husband/girl friend/boy friend, co-workers. That is the real challenge in life. It is easy at the start. But than with time we build up resentment. We get butt hurt when we don’t get that same selflessness back. But that’s the real kicker isn’t it? Because at that moment we have switched from being selfless to being selfish. We don’t mean to. We don’t want to, and I think it causes the most problems.

I thought about this a lot last night, and today while working out. I don’t have a perfect answer. It maybe that there just simply is not one. We each must struggle every day to maintain that level of selflessness. Often times this means not saying what we think. The whole concept of being honest has been twisted into an excuse by people to just be an ass. “I’m not being mean. I’m being honest.” they claim in righteous indignation. Well some times, no often times in a relationship you have to judge things and then simple SHUT THE FUCK UP! Not everything needs to be said. Not everything needs to be done your way. Certainly there is a line in the sand that each person must draw for themselves. I am in no way saying we should all be walking doormats for each other. That is never the case. If someone is mistreating you walk away. Run away. No one has the right to mistreat others or should have to be mistreated. But in life, you have to be able to look at the bigger picture and try to see it all put together. Not just the moment you are in. That or go live in a cave by yourself and be a true hermit.

Our government would be a lot better if instead of just saying “it’s for the children” and other mantras of selflessness they actually practiced it.

Our personal lives would be better and so would our professional lives. Change does not happen overnight. But it does not happen by becoming what you want to change either. You have to stand up even if no one but you knows and take action to improve your life and the lives of those around you. Put your own desires aside, think of others. If all of us can do this, even just a bit, and have the goal in mind of always doing it you would see a much different picture each day. It can truly be accomplished without giving up what makes you “you”. It can be done without sacrificing the things you hold dear. True acceptance of others is hard to do but the rewards are great.


  1. Well said. This morning I was reading about meditation. I’ve always wanted to have a solid meditation practice, and for some reason I just haven’t made it happen. But anyway, the point was that meditation takes you out of the moment and creates a different level of consciousness that is seen both in the practice of meditation, and also spills over into the rest of our lives. And clearly one doesn’t have to practice meditation to be a better person, we just have to set our intention on it.

    I thought this was interesting…. Eddie Stearn wrote,

    “The yogis of India have taught that meditation brings brightness and clarity to the mind. Without it, the mind remains cloudy with mental fluctuations, which color the way we perceive the world. These mental fluctuations are generally of six types, according to the yogis, depicted as the six poisons: desire, anger, greed, delusion, pride, and envy. We possess them all to some degree, but usually only one or two are apparent obstacles, and act as our default reaction to troublesome situations. With meditation, our poisons begin to melt as we meet them not with force, but with kindness, gentleness and love. When we do this, their hold on us will loosen.

    What are some of the ways that the six poisons manifest in our behavior? Often we feel envious of the happiness and gains of others, or take a cruel delight in the suffering of those we perceive to be our enemies. Virtuous people can make us jealous, and those behaving without virtue or morality – or even with a morality different than ours – cause feelings of anger and indignation. Such thinking prevents the mind from attaining concentration and tranquility. We remain judgmental, and our feelings of superiority keep us separate from the reality that we are all beings with faults.

    These thought patterns can be reversed, however, when we direct genuine feelings of friendliness towards those who are happy, and compassion towards those who are in distress. To those whom we perceive as acting virtuously, we can direct feelings of goodwill and sympathetic joy. Towards those whom we perceive as behaving poorly or without proper morality, we can cultivate a benevolent indifference by overlooking their faults. This will help in attaining a tranquil, serene state of mind. It is not simply positive thinking, but a restraining of the mind from dwelling on the perceived achievements or weaknesses of others; it is a beginning step in not judging ourselves and our fellow beings, in creating kindness.

    The method is simple: sit down in a quiet, comfortable spot, either on the floor or in a chair. Take a few slow breaths, inhaling and exhaling calmly and smoothly. Then, begin repeating the following formula to yourself:

    May I be happy.
    May I be free from fear.
    May I be free from sorrow.
    May I be free from suffering.
    Repeat this three times. Then, repeat the same, replacing the ‘I’ with the name of someone you love or who is dear to you. Next, use the name of someone you feel is an enemy, or someone you are having difficulty with, then someone who has the same feelings of enmity towards you. Lastly, extend the meditation towards all beings, and the whole world.

    The words should be repeated with gentle concentration and genuine feeling; we should feel that the person we are meditating on is there with us. This will contribute to our transformation. We are not repeating empty phrases, but stating a heartfelt prayer, and forming an intention.

    When we wish for someone else’s happiness, for them to be free from fear and sorrow, the way we relate with them is altered. Suddenly, they are no longer in opposition to us, but a fellow human being beset by the difficulties of life. This practice is the seed of learning to be non-judgmental. The state of non-judgment is a neutral point, it is a fulcrum whereby the poisons quiet, and qualities like compassion and understanding can begin.

    Try this meditation for a few minutes sitting down, once or twice a day; try it when you are with a person who makes you angry, jealous or fearful; try it when you are with someone you love; try it on the subway. You may find that it shifts the feelings you have towards the people upon whom you meditate, and your ability to relate to them. From that comes a sense of being, steady in oneself, of being peaceful and calm.

    When, through our life and circumstances, we come to see that it is not possible for us to change the world, we learn that somehow we must change ourselves. Amazingly, when we change our internal perception, somehow the world changes with us.”

    • That is awesome. Thanx. I’m way to high strung to ever meditate. For me the physical exhaustion of working out is kinda my meditation. I agree so much with the statement at the end. “when we change our internal perception, somehow the world changes with us” Back in the day I let my reactions be determined by other people. Now I’m not claiming I am perfect today. I’m still working on it. And I’m ok with getting upset at people. In moderation 😉 But what I mean is I want it to be my choice, not because of someone else pushing my buttons, on purpose or on accident.

      We should all ask ourselves, what is my internal perception in regards to daily life and the big picture as well. Focus on that and what you want to accomplish. Not the very second of life that you are in.

      • Yes, I completely agree. And life is a work in progress… but the most exciting part for me is that I can change, that I can be in control of how I react (which, I too have issues with anger management at times), and my life can be more peaceful and whole.

        It’s good to think about these things. Thanks for bringing up the topic. 🙂

      • Thanx for commenting. My biggest goal with this blog besides just to puke out the thoughts in my head is to start discussion. I really think honest, respectful, discussion is very health to a person’s growth. You don’t have to change the other persons thought process, or change your own. It is ok to disagree, people seem to forget that. But you can do it in a respectful manner. I think hearing other people’ ideas and challenging your own in the process is one of the best things a person can do for themselves.

  2. Would have to say I am guilty of some of that myself with my brutally honest personality. Good read.

    • Glad you liked it. I wrote this because it is something I struggle with. And when I don’t do well I notice myself getting butthurt and bitter. That has a very negative affect on my thoughts and actions.

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