What is selfishness? Selfishness is defined as being focused solely on yourself. A great example of selfishness is a toddler who doesn’t want to share their toys. How to overcome selfishness is it even possible? Absolutely!
We all know at least one selfish person. They are the people that act and make decisions that will benefit them personally and only them. You know, the ones who will take the last chip.
Why Are People Selfish? Most people would expect more intelligent people to be more selfish. Assuming they know what it takes to get ahead.
Studies have shown, however, that it’s the less intelligent that are more selfish. Honestly, we shouldn’t just throw intelligent people into this pot. It should be people of all walks of life.
I once watched an experiment on TV where a producer gave someone who appeared to have money or a job some cash (in another example it was pizza). In both experiments a homeless person was included as well. Who do you think shared more times than not?
On every single experiment the homeless person shared what was given to them. I can’t say the same for the working person. Why do you think that is? Personally I believe it is because the homeless person knows what it is like to do without.
a. Is Selfishness A Virtue?
Well it really depends who you ask. Virtue means behavior showing high moral standards.
So, how can selfishness possibly be a virtue? Again this really depends on who you ask. I feel that selfishness is a vice not virtue. The reason I feel that way is because I used to be selfish.
If you don’t know what vice means it means wicked or immoral behavior. I’m not a psychologist by any means but selfishness is definitely not a virtue. Why would God give us a characteristic of selfishness?
b. Is it good or is it evil?
Again this all depends on who you ask. My own personal opinion is it is evil. One who is selfish may not see themselves that way and may possibly argue this is not true.
However, we don’t often see our own actions as they truly are until they are pointed out to us. I didn’t know I was a selfish person until the good Lord above opened my eyes to the truth.
What Does The Bible Say About Selfishness
The Bible has a lot to say about selfishness. It definitely does not condone it. Below are 7 Bible verses about selfishness:
- Romans 2:8 – But for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
- James 3:16 – For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
- Proverbs 18:1 – Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.
- Philippians 2:3-4 – Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
- James 3:14 – But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.
- Psalm 119:36 – Incline my heart to your testimony, and not selfish gain!
Selfish people are uncaring towards others and can be quite manipulative too. It’s nothing for a selfish person to plot something against you. They want control of everything and in most cases will stop at nothing to get it.
Selfish people are conceited and self-centered. They find sharing and giving very difficult. It isn’t uncommon for them to expect others to do things for them.
They don’t accept constructive criticism well and won’t show weakness or vulnerability. Selfish people believe they deserve everything. For example, they feel they should always be rewarded even when they did nothing to deserve it.
Disagree with a selfish person? Don’t expect them to hear you out. In fact, they will criticize you behind your back.
Selfish individuals often over exaggerate their achievements yet are scared of taking risks. Hmm.
Selfish People In Relationships
They don’t listen to their spouses opinions. They never take responsibility.
Selfish people in relationships will often expect their spouse to change but won’t try to change themselves. They don’t “try” as much or as hard as their spouse. And they often more times than not take their spouse for granted.
They are not empathetic and take instead of giving. Acting impulsively and not willing to be flexible is also a characteristic.
Some good examples of selfish people in relationships:
- Selfish Husband – always wanting specific things during sex but never willing to give back or meet his wife’s needs.
- Selfish Wife – only willing to have sex when she wants it or is in the mood. Not willing to try and get in the mood when her husband wants sex. Using sex as a weapon to punish their husband.
How To Stop Being Selfish In A Marriage
Communication is key! I often hear people complaining about what they don’t want. To their surprise they get more of what they don’t want. See how that works?
Selfish people often focus on exactly that. Everything they don’t want. However, when you start focusing on what you do want you will get more of those things.
If you want your husband to be more empathetic then show him more empathy! Husbands, if you want your wife to be more giving in the bedroom, give her more of what she wants, even if that is helping around the house. She will likely give back in appreciation.
How To Overcome Selfishness
Recognizing the signs of being selfish is the key to how to stop being selfish, obviously.
There are five things to look for when you are tempting to recognize if you or someone else are being selfish:
- Self Centered – when the world revolves around an individual that is a sign of selfishness.
- Ungrateful Heart – an ungrateful heart is definitely a red flag. When someone is ungrateful it goes to show just how selfish they are by showing nothing will ever be good enough for them.
- Despises Seeing Others Win or Succeed – jealousy and envy are clear signs someone is selfish. When an individual doesn’t want to see others succeed it is because they weren’t recognized and in some cases they will try and take the credit.
- Doesn’t Take Responsibility – selfish people do not take responsibility for their own actions. They will always find someone else to blame.
My Confession / Battle With Selfishness
I grew up on what I like to refer to as all three sides of the track. Yes, you read that right “all three sides of the track.”
My mom and dad divorced when I was maybe three years old. Of which is when I went to stay with my aunt and uncle who raised me until I was 8 years old.
I would go and visit my parents on the weekends; my dad one weekend and my mom the next. The environment was so different between the three. It was like three different worlds.
My aunt and uncle’s house was very clean and tidy. We always ate the best foods and enjoyed the best ice cream for dessert.
However, when I would go and visit my dad his house was a bit cluttered but clean enough. I remember he always had Popsicle’s and soda that came in glass bottles. We would walk everywhere and watch movies together the entire weekend.
At my moms house it was clean but she didn’t always have a lot of food or money. I remember I would mostly play with my brother or cousins when visiting.
As I grew up I knew I wanted to be something, anything, as long as I didn’t have to struggle, like my parents.
Sadly, it did not turn out that way. Not at first anyway. You see I was so selfish that it caused me to struggle more than I probably should have.
If I got a little bit of money I would be too scared to spend it in fear I would be broke again. Which would always end up in me spending the money on unnecessary things.
If someone would ask to borrow something whether it was money or clothing I would always make up an excuse.
Example: My sister would buy two pairs of new shoes and would let me borrow a pair before she even wore them. If I bought a pair of shoes she would be lucky if I ever let her borrow them at all.
When that was pointed out to me it was the first time God revealed to me I was being selfish.
The biggest issue I dealt with by far was Wallowing In Self-Pity. It was very hard for me to take responsibility for my actions and decisions.
Related Post: Why You Need To Stop Wallowing In Self-Pity
I blamed the world and everyone around for everything that went wrong in my life. Even though I was the one to blame!
Feeling entitled to a good job right out of college, stopped me from finding a good job. I assumed I worked hard and got the degree the hard part was over and the job would just fall into my lap. Ha, what a fool I was.
Ungrateful heart doesn’t even begin to explain the hate I had. Nothing and I mean nothing ever made me happy. It didn’t matter if I had a roof over my head, food in the fridge, clothes on my back, and my kids were healthy; I would still find something wrong.
How To Overcome Selfishness
How to overcome selfishness really isn’t that hard. You just have to recognize you are being selfish. And want to do something about it.
There are several steps you can take to overcome selfishness. Next time you are in the drive thru pay for the person behind you.
Or the next time you are in line at the grocery store let the person behind you go in front of you.
You can even do something like slipping a $5 bill into a box of diapers. Random acts of kindness is a great way to help you overcome selfishness.
Overcoming selfishness is something you have to do on purpose. But once you start you will want to keep going!
However, you must NOT brag about what you have done. Because that will keep you being selfish! It shows the world that you want to be recognized for the good deed you have done.
God loves a humble heart. Be humble and find a way to give everyday while showing gratitude for even the little things.
I promise you, God will see the change you are trying to make in yourself and He will reward you! God’s rewards are the best rewards you will ever receive.
I hope this post on How To Overcome Selfishness helped you. Please keep in mind that if someone else is being selfish you cannot change them. You can however be an example.
Before I go here is a post I found by Carolyn Steber 11 Ways To Be A Little Less Selfish Every Day that I think you will enjoy.