Overcoming Selfishness

Overcoming Selfishness Here in the 2020s we have a society, media, academia, and overall world that has become more selfish and entitled. Technological and other society changes have promoted a “me” attitude and approach to life. One of the main contributors to this shift has been the internet. With YouTube, social media, and other apps and websites promoting both ease of information and immediate gratification/stimulation, selfishness has been greatly on the rise. It seems this trend has really taken off about the last 15 years as social media has become such a prominent part of people’s lives. In addition, selfishness was prophesized to be an increasing problem of the latter days, among other issues and problems.

Paul prophesized the following about today’s world: This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. --2 Timothy 3:1-7 So therefore, these conditions were foreseen. Technology aids it, but remember that these challenging conditions were foretold.

In addition, when it comes to relationships and marriage, selfishness is very destructive and is generally a big part of the reason for difficulties and break ups/divorces. President Gordon B. Hinkley has stated the following: 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).

Becoming Less Selfish:

So how do we not buy into the societal selfishness going on all around us? How do we break free? Here are a few suggestions:

*Improve your inner self-talk and focus. Shift away from saying “I” and “me” inside to a more positive focus centering on the other person. You can ask yourself some others-oriented questions like, “how does this effect or impact the other person?”, “what can I do to help make things better/easier/more comfortable for the other person?”, or “how would the Lord want me to act in this situation?” How we treat the other person is a direct reflection of and a consequence of the inner dialog we have inside of ourselves first. We will act less selfishly as we better control and redirect our inner thoughts and beliefs first. That is an area we can always work to improve.

*Practice asking others positive questions and then take action. You can ask the other person things like, “how are you doing”, “what would you like?”, “what can I do to help?”, “what would you like from me?”, etc. Also, practice applying what you have learned from your previous interactions with the other person to give more and treat them better. From previous experience and trial and error, ideally, we can learn and attend to what the other person wants and needs even when they don’t say things out loud and ask for them. We just need to pay attention and act on that knowledge accordingly from what we know about them. Focusing on and practicing doing these things helps establish new positive habits. The rule of thumb with habits is that if you can consistently do something for at least 3 weeks, it becomes much easier to keep doing. It may be a good idea to write down and track these efforts on a piece or paper or in your phone to stay on top of them.

*Do service/charity work. Arguably the best way to break out from your own selfishness and be more others oriented is to do some kind of service. Meaning, doing work to help others and make a positive difference in their life. When we are engaged in helping others we not only get to enjoy the satisfaction of making a positive difference with others, but it also lifts us away from usual selfish focuses on our issues and problems. There is an old saying: “that which we focus on we amplify”. Conversely, that which we don’t focus on we de-amplify. Charity/service work improves our focus off and away from ourselves and acts as a great way to break away from selfishness.

Final Thoughts:

Given President Hinkley’s earlier quote on selfishness being a real threat to destroy marriages, it behooves all of us to break from being selfish personally and relationally. In addition, being others oriented, kind, and helpful also helps us to be a more pleasant, enjoyable person to be around. And by lessening selfishness and focusing more on others, we are also happier inside and others are happier with us as well. Please work to lessen selfishness and the good results will follow, both personally and relationally. And remember that “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

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

2024-05-06 Randy Gilchrist

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About the author

Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to drgilchrist@yahoo.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to drgilchrist@yahoo.com).