Overcoming Selfishness

Overcoming Selfishness To be “selfish” is to be overly focused on one’s own wants, needs, feelings, and desires, regardless of how such actions or attitudes may harm or effect another. To be selfish is to do what we feel like doing and not doing what we don’t feel like doing—without consideration for other people taken into account. Therefore, it is no surprise that selfishness erodes and can eventually destroy relationships and marriages.

President Gordon B. Hinkley has emphasized fidelity in marriage and well as a giving orientation as opposed to selfish choices. That the marriage should be the priority over everything else. He stated that: “When the Lord says all thy heart, it allows for no sharing nor dividing nor depriving.…The words none else eliminate everyone and everything. The spouse then becomes preeminent in the life of the husband or wife, and neither social life nor occupational life nor political life nor any other interest nor person nor thing shall ever take precedence over the companion spouse.… Marriage presupposes total allegiance and total fidelity. Each spouse takes the partner with the understanding that he or she gives totally to the spouse all the heart, strength, loyalty, honor, and affection, with all dignity. Any divergence is sin; any sharing of the heart is transgression. As we should have ‘an eye single to the glory of God,’ so should we have an eye, an ear, a heart single to the marriage and the spouse and family” (Faith Precedes the Miracle [1972], 142–43).

Furthermore, President Hinckley also taught: “When you are married, be fiercely loyal one to another. Selfishness is the great destroyer of happy family life. If you will make your first concern the comfort, the well-being, and the happiness of your companion, sublimating any personal concern to that loftier goal, you will be happy, and your marriage will go on throughout eternity” (Ensign, Dec. 1995, 67). In sum, President Hinkley has clarified that a marriage should be the main priority and emphasis, and that a (hopefully mutual) giving, others orientation in relationships instead of selfishness gives a marriage the best chance for success.

Ideas to Help Overcome Selfishness:

*Change your self-talk. Practice changing and improving how you talk to yourself. Include many more others-oriented statements and questions inside yourself. You can think these ideas in your mind, write them out, or talk to others about them. Examples may include things like:
--“I wonder what ____ (person) would think about this?”
--“How will this effect____ (another person)?”
--“Is _____ (choice/decision) a win-win scenario for the both of us?”
--“How would I feel if the other person did_____to me (a decision I was considering making)?”
--“If I were in the other person’s shoes, how would I feel/react to this?”
--“What would this be like for the other person?”
--“How can I make _____’s (another person) life easier or better?”

*Ask the Other Questions. Regularly practice asking other person how they feel, what they would like, what their opinions/suggestions/recommendations would be, etc. When they answer, listen with patience and interest. This is a direct example of showing empathy and being others-oriented.

*Listen to Some Hypnosis. At bed at night, push play and listen to some relevant hypnosis audios sessions to lessen your selfishness and increase your “others orientation”. From www.hypnosisdownloads.com I suggest the following sessions:

*Regularly read self-help books/workbooks that help lessen selfishness and increase an others-orientation. Here is a decent suggestion to begin:
What About Me? Stop Selfishness from Ruining Your Relationship by Jane Greer

*Role Models: surround yourself with particular family members and friends that already possess a strong and healthy others orientation, a giving nature, and a more selfless nature in general. When around them, notice what they are doing and how they are doing it. Adopt and incorporate whatever traits of theirs that you can into your life. Perhaps ask some questions as well. Take note. Such role models may also be from actors in TV or movies too. Whenever you can, be exposed to others with a strong others-orientation.

Final Thoughts:

Most selfishness can be worked on when it is a main goal and a regular focus for yourself. Like the old saying goes, that which we focus on, we amplify. If you focus on developing traits like being others-oriented, being less selfish, and being more of a giver, you will become stronger and more proficient in those ways. As you practice the several suggestions in this article, you will see selfishness lessen, consideration for others getting stronger, and a better feeling of progress and satisfaction with this area. Working to become less selfish in relationships will benefit you and your future partner. It is worth it. Because “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11.

Dr. G
P.S. If you can questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at drgilchrist@yahoo.com.

2021-04-05 Shawn Gordon Dating, Psychological health

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About the author

I am a founder of this site and as of May 2015 I am happily married to a wonderful LDS woman. I spent my years in the singles system as a singles rep working to optimize events and maximize the effectiveness of people interacting and finding someone to love. I studied psychology for years and my years as a software and business consultant have made me very adept at understanding people and their motivations. I hope to help others find that same happiness that I have.