Sunday, June 8, 2014

Selfish or selfless?

Selfish: having or showing concern only for yourself and not for the needs or feelings of other people

Selfless: having or showing great concern for other people and little or no concern for yourself

All that differentiates between selfish and selfless are the "-ish" and "less". They both revolve around "self". What makes them different?

-ish: having characteristics of, belonging to, inclined to

less: reduce in amount, opposite of more

So to be selfish, one belongs to, or has characteristics of self, or is inclined to self. In other words, putting "me" first over other things or people. Pushing through the crowd to squeeze onto a tightly packed train. Getting a whole bus to stop and let you get on, making all the other passengers wait. Being late for others. (I'm guilty of this too.) It makes for a bad rap in living with others.

How can we turn this around? How can we live selflessly?

Self-less. Less of self. Less of "me first". Offering others your seat on the train. Holding the door open for the Mum with a pram, or the elderly carefully manoeuvring their way on their shaky umbrella-cane. Doing what freaks you out, then doing it anyway.

It was never about us. It is about what we do to ourselves in relation to others.
So which camp are you in? Closer to selfish or selfless?

Miriam-Webster dictionary for definitions.
Selfish or selfless photo

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