"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live. It is asking others to live as one wishes to live."
Oscar Wilde, Novelist
1854 - 1900
Will You Get Over Yourself -- Please?
Selfish: Concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself; seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others; arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others; genetic material solely concerned with its own replication.
Have you ever attended a function where the only thing some people want to talk about is themselves? When that occurs, you usually look for an exit strategy as quickly as possible.
Why is self-centered behavior so unattractive -- even offensive?
That character trait is repelling because it means the rest of us are not needed. After all, if a person is talking only about himself, our presence is not required.
Other words that mean the same thing are narcissistic, egocentric, drama-queen/king, and self-absorbed.
Admittedly, we all have been selfish. We naturally tend to get wrapped up in our own little worlds but, if we choose to do so, we can free ourselves from that tendency, to a large degree. The key is to learn from our past behavior and use that understanding to make our impact more positive in the future.
I recently had the privilege of taking a friend to lunch. I had promised him months ago, but apparently I was too wrapped up in my own stuff to get away. Sound familiar? My friend -- a very successful businessman, now retired -- has given freely of his time and wisdom to many, including myself.
In the past, I had called him when I needed something from him. Perhaps because of my increased maturity, this time I focused on him. The sole purpose of this lunch was to thank him for all the wisdom he had shared with me.
The lunch turned out to be very special; I got far more than I gave. I cannot put into words the joy I felt from encouraging this mentor of mine. And my friend was thankful for the visit. Isnít that just like individuals who are unselfish!? They have a grateful heart!
It is far better to give than to receive is certainly true.
Itís time we got over ourselves -- stopped our complaining, whining, and drama displays about our particular situation -- and started focusing on others.
Even though we are the ones who are giving, we will benefit the most.
Last year a research project linked increased wellness to people who gave to others. You actually live longer and stay healthier because the biochemistry in your body responds to your generosity by reinforcing your immune system.
The opposite is also true. Self-centered drama slowly poisons the perpetrator. These individuals erode their overall physical and mental well-being and also damage others through their actions. Be guarded about allowing insensitive, inconsiderate people into your space. Remember, they are slowly poisoning you, too.
As a parent of a tween and a teen, I know kids can fall into the peer-driven pit of self-centeredness -- I want an iPod; I want an iPhone; I want to hang out with my friends; I want . . . I want . . . I want . . .
Hereís an example of how my kids rose above the gimme habit.
This month our neighbor asked them to care for his home while he traveled to visit his family overseas.
Even though we had agreed to take care of the basics for him, it quickly became apparent that the home needed more than simple maintenance. Together, as a family, we did a mini-makeover on his place, even arranging for a truck to remove a load of debris from his lot. The most rewarding part came at dinner this week when my 13-year-old son stated it was much more fun to give than to receive.
He got it!
Now itís your turn. Want others to care more about you? Start giving -- unconditionally.
Sometimes we generate drama when we are frustrated and donít understand why we feel that way. To help you determine the best way to give and still reduce your drama, consider the following resources.
Will You Get Over Yourself -- Please?
1. Are you a selfish whiner?
2. What would others say about you on that subject? Do you create a lot of drama? If the answer is Yes, why do you? Does whining help you feel better . . . or are you addicted to feeling miserable?
3. What about your closest friends. Are they self-centered? Typically, misery loves company. If you donít like that environment, get out of it. If your friends are selfish (even if itís because they have low self-worth), limit your exposure to them. They are poisoning you.
4. Make a choice to give to someone this week. Note how it makes you feel to give to someone else unconditionally. Who in you life could benefit from your time, expertise, or resources?
5. Consider inviting someone else to give along with you. Think of someone who needs to get over him (or her) self.
6. People who are living on purpose rarely whine. When a person is living on purpose, drama is reduced. That is part of the self-improvement process.
7. What kind of world would we have if people got over themselves? It would be amazing! I challenge each of you to do your personal best to reduce the drama around you -- I know you can do it!
Until next time, keep Living On Purpose!
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Ken Keis, MBA, CPC, is an internationally known author, speaker, and consultant. He is President and CEO of CRG Consulting Resource Group International, Inc., Many professionals herald CRG as the Number One global resource center for Personal and Professional Development.
For information on CRG Resources, please visit crgleader.com
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