“Selfishness is that detestable vice which no one will forgive in others, and no one is without himself.” – Henry Ward Beecher
We live in a world of unquenchable greed and selfishness. We see it all around us. And often lament its existence:
- We lash out against the greed of politicians.
- We despise the self-serving culture of corporate greed.
- We argue against those who spend massive resources pushing their agenda.
- We protest the selfish motives of many wars and ruling parties.
- We cry out against the injustice of unnecessary poverty and hunger.
With little or no effort, we recognize the ugly effects of greed and selfishness on our society, culture, and nations. The greed of others makes this world a less pleasurable place to live for all of us. We wish they would change for the sake of everyone. In some cases, we even unify and protest to pressure them to change.
All the while, our personal greed rarely goes challenged. Recognizing the negative effects of corporate selfishness is easy. But identifying our own selfish motivation is more difficult to accomplish. It is, after all, far more painful to discover and admit.
As a result, we rarely recognize how selfishness within us is…
- contributing to the feelings of jealousy we experience.
- causing strife in our relationships with others.
- negatively impacting our relationship with our spouse.
- motivating so many of the unhealthy decisions we make with our money.
- preventing us from meeting the apparent needs of others.
- keeping us from experiencing love, joy, hope, gratitude, generosity.
- hindering us from finding true contentment.
It is healthy and wise to recognize the greed of our society in which we live. We need voices speaking out against it… loudly. And history will continue to recognize and praise the heroes who took a stand against it. May each of us be bold as we champion society’s selfless pursuits.
But as we do, may we begin in our own hearts. May we never neglect the pursuit of removing selfishness from our own affections. May we strive to consider not only our own interests, but also the interests of others. May we routinely place ourselves in the plight of others. And may we seek to meet their needs with the same effort we seek to meet our own.
The antidote for selfishness is you. And the battle has to begin there.
Image: Hamed Saber