I was talking to a student who just finished up working through the 4-Step System To Getting Unstuck In Your Life last evening over Skype about being selfish versus selfless and where to draw the line when people are walking all over you.
Specifically, she was brought up to be a nice person, to respect others and to help other people as much as possible.
To her, these were embedded as very strong beliefs about what it meant to be selfless versus selfish.
While these beliefs sound reasonable and even admirable, she did fall into a trap that many of us fall into…substituting the need for praise, to be liked and to avoid conflict for sticking to our principles, beliefs and standards.
Can You Put Yourself First and Still Be Selfless?
How many of you agree that you can put your own principles, goals and standards first and still be a very selfless person?
If you believe that each person has greatness within them, is it not your duty to help them bring that about?
If they are not acting up to their potential, do you not then have the ability to demand that of them or move on?
What good is it doing if you continually give in to them, make excuses for them, turn a blind eye or even help them continue by supporting their negative state?
That's not being selfless, in fact it is being selfish because you are not living up to your own standards and tackling a problem.
On the other hand, if you share with them how much you believe in them, but that they are not realizing their true potential and make suggestions on how they can change…is that not really being selfless?
In fact, by defending yourself, refusing to let their negativity, bad habits or poor influence impact your life – even if it means walking away from them, you are reinforcing your service to yourself, your community and society at large.
Too many people today mix up selflessness and selfishness…assuming that taking time for yourself, taking care of yourself and standing up for your principles and values is selfish when it is exactly the opposite.
Vow today to do the following:
- Expect more from your friends, family and peers…you want to bring out the best in them and let them know you expect that of them
- Stop saying you are "sorry" or making excuses for those who are underperforming…instead help them to over-achieve supporting them in that effort
- Take time for yourself FIRST, in order for you to be selfless toward others, you must take time for yourself, understand and align yourself with your best values, purpose and passion and have the confidence to hold steady to those despite what others say or do
- Stop regretting and start seeing what is possible moving toward probable
- Take responsibility for your health, emotional state, thoughts and how you influence and interact with others
- Stop letting people bring you down, if they are not willing to let you help them improve, move on
- Forget the past, focus on the future and know that you can completely control your future regardless of the past
Whether letting people walk all over you is due to a belief that you are actually helping them (by being nice, giving in or avoiding conflict) OR if you are simply using that as an excuse STOP immediately!
Understand that setting higher standards and living up to those standards is one of the most fulfilling, valuable and selfless things you can do in life because the result will be that you put yourself in a very good position to help many others you touch…what can be more selfless than that?