How to Be Less Selfish?

We all know that selfishness is a negative trait. However, from time to time, we often find ourselves thinking that we are being a little self-centered.

While putting ourselves first is not entirely bad, sometimes we also have to step back and reflect if we are still doing it for self-love (which is very important), or if we’re already stepping or hurting other people just to get what we want.

When it reaches to that level, then it can be a toxic behavior. So, how do we change that?

We asked 9 experts “How to be less selfish?

Read their insights below.

Ali Zabel

Ali Zabel

Business Coach

You need to consider what exactly makes you the best version of yourself

Being selfish is not necessarily a bad thing. People look at life as needing to take care of others first, but if we do not put our best versions out there then we are not able to be there for those people the way they need us to be.

In order to put your best foot forward, you need to consider what exactly makes you the best version of yourself and do that.

Taking care of yourself so you can be there for your loved ones will, in turn, make you less selfish.

Read Related Article: Why Is Self Love Important?

Kirsten McTernan

Kirsten McTernan

Author | Speaker | Wife | Mom of Four

Take the focus off of yourself

The best way to be less selfish is to take the focus off of yourself (your feelings, your desires, your needs, etc.) and focus on someone else. Try to imagine life as it is for them.

It’s important to create a daily habit of thinking about others, and then actively helping others through giving gifts, spending time, giving a hug, helping meet a need by serving in some way, or encouraging someone with your words.

When we create the habit of thinking of others, our perspective shifts from selfish to selfless. The amazing part of being selfless is you will become more thankful and feel more fulfilled through helping others!

Scott Crabtree

Scott Crabtree

Chief Happiness Officer, Happy Brain Science

Solid science suggests that, ironically, being less selfish makes you happier. When scientists look at journals of those who sadly are suicidal, those journals are filled with ‘I‘. When scientists compare those to journals of happier people, they talk about themselves a lot less.

Furthermore, research shows that being a kind, generous person focused on others makes us happy. And that happiness brings health, longevity, productivity, creativity, resilience, and many other benefits.

Those who are kind to others end up happier.

Those who are generous thrive more.

Those who forgive end up finding more joy.

Being less focused on yourself, and more concerned with others, ironically, ends up boosting our own well-being significantly.

Caleb Backe


Health & Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics

Listen to what a person says and react accordingly

If you’re looking for motivation to be less selfish, just think of the likeability factor. People want to be around other people who are nice to them and willing to help, so if you’re known as being self-absorbed you will inevitably push others away.

How to not be selfish?

Now in order to achieve not being selfish, practice empathy- imagining and understanding what others are going through.

The best way to do this is to listen to what a person says and react accordingly. This will give you all of the information necessary to address what the other person needs, and through this, it will be simple to be less selfish.

Read Related Article: Effective Communication: How to Improve Your Communication Skills

Paul Christoffersen

Paul Christoffersen

Thought Engineer | Interventionist | Provocateur | Neat Guy | Life Coach

Shift your state of expectation to one of appreciation

Relax your rules and live in a state of appreciation. Being selfish means you are overly concerned with an expectation of the way you think things should be.

You expect, and desire, certain outcomes to work out in your favor on a consistent basis. This is an exhausting and frustrating state to be in on a daily basis.

Expectations are often built on a set of rules a person has created over time. When others are not following your rules, you become irritated. The problem here is that everyone else has their rules that most likely do not consider your rules. It is impossible for all of your rules to be followed by others, and it is rather foolish to expect that.

Shift your state of expectation to one of appreciation. The next time you find that you are not getting your way, pause and consider what rule of yours is being violated.

Examine that rule and consider it from someone else’s perspective. Finally, ask yourself, “How can I appreciate this moment, or person, or situation?

Alexis Davis

Alexis Davis

Founder/CEO of H.K. Productions Inc.

You need to do some inner work before you’re able to help others

When you enter a situation with the intentions of wanting to add value, then you come from a space of giving and selflessness.

Often times people are looking for what they can gain, what they can take, what is in it for them.

However, there are still many people who are givers in this world and genuinely want to add value to the lives of others selflessly. The key to being less selfish is to have the perspective of what can I give, how can I help and what can I do for you.

For those who find being less selfish challenging, check to see if your metaphorical cup is full (mentally, spiritually, emotionally) so that you’re able to decipher if you’re feeling depleted yourself. You may find that you need to do some inner work before you’re able to help others. Because the truth is we can’t give what we don’t have. Generosity is wealth.

I also believe in giving the help I’ve had or giving the help I wish I had. Emotional intelligence plays a large role in how you relate and empathize with others.

Monica Eaton-Cardone

Monica Eaton-Cardone

Co-founder and COO, Chargebacks911

For me–as a woman, as a parent, as an entrepreneur–the one thing I have found that consistently gets me beyond myself is connecting with other people. That sounds obvious, but let’s face it: our lives are already packed, we’re already exhausted, and everything in our popular culture is screaming that we deserve to GET more–not give more.

But that thinking is short-sighted, at best.

Truly connecting with others requires us to step outside of our own thoughts, needs, and beliefs. It helps us realize that the world is a massive and highly diverse place and that it doesn’t revolve around our work schedules or retirement plans.

More than anything, it helps kill the cancerous belief that somehow we deserve more than someone else, just because of who we are.

Connecting with others can be humbling. But it’s uplifting, too. The more I get involved with other people–either one-on-one or by participating in social activities–the more I appreciate their struggles, the more grateful I am for what I have … and the more I want to share it.

Steven Libman

Steven Libman

Partner, Integrity Capital Group

The idea of being less selfish sounds good to us, but what are some practical steps we can take to ensure we are doing so?

CS Lewis once wrote, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.

Putting others’ needs above your own, or serving others, is an important step to becoming less selfish.

The best leaders know that a sure fire way to success is by serving others and helping them succeed. Looking out for another person’s highest and best good puts the spotlight on them, and takes it off of you.

Start today, practice with those closest to you, put them first, and see what happens!

Roberta Perry

Roberta Perry

Owner, Scrubz Body

Self-loving and self-caring aside, it is very easy to get lost in the day to day minutia of our own needs. That’s where gratitude meditation comes in for me.

Before I get out of bed, I repeat a list in my head of all the people I am grateful for and the contributions they make to my life and to my business. I remind myself that I am only one person and that these people contribute daily to my well-being and success.

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