I’ve been thinking about this topic lately. The value of being selfless, its benefits and its backfiring effect if any. Selfless, some consider it arrogance while others call it stupidity. Religion has taught us to help others and expect nothing back. To help others “for Allah” and not to have personal benefits or a secret agenda. And culture has taught us to be kind to others generally. A selfish person doesn’t realize that he/she is selfish, similar to crazy people that don’t know they’re crazy. Sounding harsh, I know.

Can selfishness be consider a mental defect? Caused by the environment the selfish person is living in? Certainly no one is born selfish, or could they be? I know for a fact that being completely selfless CAN be a mental illness, which is kind of sad. Make no mistake, I am in no position to call myself selfless nor selfish. I have my moments in being both.

How do we deal with selfish people? Can we really change if we are selfish? and what do you think about someone who’s almost completely selfless?



  1. Avatar
    Salem June 02, 2012

    Brilliant post.

    “Someone who perseveres benefit upon benefit will squeeze gratitude even from a heart that is hard and forgetful.” Seneca, On Benefits, BOOK I, 3.1.

    It is naive if someone believes you can change a person overnight. When it comes to character, awareness might help, but does little to action change. It is through supported conditioning that I think you can bridge the gap between vice and virtue.

    It is a futile pursuit to try and enlighten someone – make them selfless. The only effort you can make is to remedy the vice – make them less selfish or aware that their actions are selfish.

    Ingratitude stems from greed, envy, and a lack of self-awareness. Understanding this gives you a kick off point for overcoming the obstacle. How do you deal with a greedy person? How do you manage envy? How do you enlighten the ignorant?

    This is a severely stoic piece of advice – by being indifferent about the way you are treated, and by pursuing virtuous behaviour, you will ultimately extend and extract virtue from even the most selfish ingrates.

    … in short chinna wa7id 9aakik i6rag, tashkira oo tibtisim >.<‘

    Onto the selflessness bit – giving is good but not if it prevents you from giving.

    Consider yourself when being selfless: “I will save a life but not at the cost of my own”. The latter, although at first might seem to portray heroism and valour, presents you from benefiting others further and is therefore a selfish pursuit of glory. (see Seneca, On Benefits, Book 2, 15.1)

    I can go on, but my coffee is finished and I need to grab another. Keep these coming o.o’ I make share.

    • Avatar
      rotsu June 03, 2012

      Good point!

      I believe self-awareness is in parallel with wisdom. The wiser you are, the more self-aware you become. The thing is with wisdom, it’s connected to time. No matter how smart you are, i believe age plays a huge roll in it. You just simply….change when you grow up, and you become wiser. Even if experience did not play a big roll in that time frame. People do change, in time, and become more self-aware. The things is, it is usually too late to realize the wrong they have done in the past caused by the lack of self-awareness. Can you really knock sense in arrogant young individuals and make them more self-aware of their life?

      This takes me to a very important point that everyone needs to have at a young age, a mentor. Sometimes parents make a good mentor, sometimes. A good friend can be a good mentor, but the chances of finding a genuine friend, similar in age but having a much matured personality and wisdom is very slim.

      Which makes me feel sad and pity some people I meet. They never had the good mentor they needed and so they became what they are today, selfish. I dare myself to be the person i am today if i was in their shoes, not having what i had at young age, a good guide. Be it a friend, a brother or a father. Not that i’m calling myself selfless, but i believe i turned out alright for the most part. And I like to help others change for the better.

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