Getting Over Selfishness and Self-Centeredness
It's not uncommon for selfishness and self-centeredness to cause problems in one's life. Whether problems arise from the way others are negatively affected or constant thoughts of 'self' make it difficult to concentrate on much else, more than a few problems can arise. Here are a few ways to become less affected by selfish and self-centered thoughts.
In order to make it as simple as possible, we are going to break this article down into two categories: Selfishness and self-centeredness. On the surface, these two attributes may appear to be the same. In fact, they are not. While both of these traits are extremely common among average adults, self-centeredness affects more of us in a variety of ways.
It may be difficult to read this article and evaluate yourself honestly. Before you get too much into judging yourself, take a moment to realize that is a self-centered response. Why? You are no longer reading this article objectively. You have managed (and perhaps rightfully so) to make it 'all about you'.
You are not alone. Do you know that feeling when you walk into a room and you feel like everybody is watching you and judging you? You're not the only person who feels that way. The only thing is many of us are so prone to feeling that way that we fail to realize that everybody else in the room has the exact same self-centered fears. So how do we get over this type of self-centeredness?
Take time to realize that we are not alone.
Coming to this realization and having it become something you're able to internalize and accept takes work and it takes time. The first things that are required are: Honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness. The next thing that's required is a person or group of people you trust. The first step is to honestly evaluate your life. Take a look at some of the things you've done to yourself and to other people of which you are less than proud. For most people, there are some hard facts in our lives to face up to, but putting them down on paper and looking at them honestly is the first step toward liberation from self-centeredness.
The next step after writing down this lifetime inventory is to share it with a person you trust. There are a variety of religions in which confession is encouraged and utilized on a regular basis. For those involved in these types of religions, this may be the perfect outlet. For others, it may be a trusted friend or a group of friends. A trusted friend or a group of friends is generally better than a priest or another appointed religious person. Why? Those affiliated with religion can offer you a type of forgiveness, but what they're less likely to do is to relate personal experience to you - vital experience that lets you know you're not alone. When you share some of your deepest, darkest secrets with a trusted friend what normally winds up happening is that friend shares something similar with you and you realize that your actions were just part of being human - not just one of many things that made you a 'horrible person'.
Selfishness is a more glaring defect by which other people are more affected. Selfishness can manifest itself in many ways. One of the ways in which selfishness can manifest itself is keeping 'things' or resources to ourselves - refusing to share that with which we've been blessed. Another way in which selfishness can manifest itself is through our time. We have a list of things we think we need (perhaps things we don't need at all like watching television or other fabulous wastes of time), and we refuse to share our time with others.
So how do we recover from these forms of selfishness? For those who have been blessed with lots of material possessions or wealth, it could be a freeing experience to donate to charity. Not only are those who have material blessings in a position to donate, though. Those who have a lot of free time can donate their time to animal shelters, convalescent homes, etc.
There are other regular things we can do to 'get out of ourselves'. More often than not, selfish obsession is uncomfortable. We are unable to focus on anything besides our own selfish needs. Simple things like making a phone call and asking how somebody else's day is going can help get us out of our own heads and identify areas in our lives (or - more importantly - other peoples' lives) in which we can offer our time or resources to helping other human beings.
Remember above everything else: We are only human. The first step to getting over damaging behavior is to identify and accept what they are. Unless we are able to evaluate ourselves honestly, there will be no room for growth.