Way to Develop Selflessness: 21st Century marks increase of selfishness running rampant in minds of people all over the world. It seems to be due to trend of pollution of thoughts increasing at a greater pace. For everything people are seeing this world as a market place and almost everyone wants to trade things for profit. As a result they are increasingly becoming selfish. They always want to ‘take’. Attitude of selflessness is decreasing at a faster pace. There are only few who seem to be ready to ‘give’. But majority of people have acquired selfish lifestyle. Due to their selfish behavior they want to grab everything around them and want to possess more than what they genuinely need.
Our present society is promoting selfish behavior. Selflessness seems to becoming one of the rarest qualities of human behavior. There is increasing trend of continuous teaching to new generations to be distrustful towards others. There is unknown fear in the minds of people towards one another. They think that they will be used, hurt, deceived or cheated. Mutual trust and understanding is gradually vanishing. Feelings of cooperation and helping one another are becoming things of the past. People, in general, are considering their needs and desires above the welfare of others.
Effect of selfish behavior on humanity:
Selfish behavior is taking its toll on humanity. Due to increasing trend of selfishness among people several problems are visible in today’s society. Increasing crime, atrocities against women and poor, religious and racial conflicts, terrorist activities, broken homes, abused children, excessive use of drugs and arms, sexual assaults are few examples of selfish behavior that is increasing at an alarming rate.
Everyone is experiencing heat of these negative developments in society. Almost everyone wants a positive change but no one seems to be aware of its solution. And those they are aware of solution are not interested in taking initiative.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want in this world.” Some of us must take this responsibility and come forward to arrest this negative trend and develop attitude of selflessness.
One needs to cultivate habit of selflessness. Selflessness means thinking less about the self but more about the others. Selflessness is a basic human nature. God has given you several positive qualities including love, compassion, mercy, generosity, righteousness and faith etc. Moreover, human being is a social animal. For living peacefully and happily in society, you must put your needs and desires on back burner and take care of others first. Selflessness teaches you to be concerned for welfare of others and practicing the same principle in life. It also teaches you to take responsibility for your less fortunate brothers and sisters living in society and taking care of the weakest and oppressed class. Those they belong to affluent and privileged class must take collective responsibility to help them out to the best of their capabilities. You must realize that you can bring a change and must take effective steps to develop selflessness and promote the same in others.
Selflessness is essence of all religions:
Every religion of this world promotes selflessness. Here are given essence of these religions.
Buddhism: Love and compassion are essential components of different forms of Buddhism. It teaches kindness towards others.
Christianity: Selflessness is at the core of teachings of Jesus.
Hinduism: Every scripture of this ancient religion teaches on practicing purity of thoughts including love, cooperation, generosity, caring and sharing. One of the Vedas basic principles says, ‘Vasudhaive Kutumbakam’ i.e. this world is a family. And family values are based on selflessness.
Islam: Islam has always promoted preferring others to oneself. Devotion to others through total forgetfulness of one’s own concern is the essence of Islam. They are taught to give importance to sacrifice for the sake of greater good.
Jainism: Jain religion preaches Ahimsa i.e. live and let live. They say, do not harm other forms of sentient beings. Jainism promotes all forms of non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy and non-materialism. Selflessness is the essence of Jain religion.
Judaism: It defines selflessness as the desired goal of all creation. In Judaism love is the most important attribute of human nature.
Sikhism: Sacrifice for others and selflessness are essential components of Sikhism. It teaches imbibing good qualities and also love, affection, patience, harmony, truthfulness and service to mankind.
If you are a true follower of any of these religions, you must have shed selfish behavior and would be honestly practicing selflessness. In case you have not done so far, you can start practicing now.
And if you are not following any of the above religions, but believe in living at your terms, your inner conscience would always suggest you to follow the path of selflessness.
How to develop selflessness:
Selflessness is a natural human tendency that can be developed with little efforts. First you must realize that you intend to change your habit and your attitude. Next step must be making efforts for this change. Selflessness can be developed by thinking less about the self and more about others. Instead of trying to fulfill your needs and desires first, focus on helping others in their endeavors. You must learn and practice selfless skills such as wearing a gentle smile on your face, an honest appreciation and compliment, using kind words, acts of caring and sharing your money and time, a gentle touch of love and compassion, looking at others with your love filled eyes, a patient listening to the sufferings of others and a helping hand lending to those they are in need.
Selflessness also includes being grateful to the people around you and those they are helping you directly or indirectly. In addition, protecting environment, being eco friendly, saving water, electricity, fossil fuel and food are signs of practicing selflessness for the sake of protecting environment. Reducing use of plastics and other non biodegradable items also show your acts of selflessness. All your senses will cooperate in developing habit of selflessness. Your pride and ego will be inflated. Selfish habits such as hatred, jealousy, anger, frustration, hostility, unfriendly behavior, non-cooperation and rigidity will be things of past. Your mind will expand and develop sensitivity. Your attitude of kindness and caring for others will be predominant features in your behavior. You will always be concerned to help others.
While developing an attitude of selflessness you must ensure not to be lured by any reward, appreciation, profit or favor in lieu of your acts of selflessness. Rather you must enjoy success, achievements and happiness of others. Service above self must be motive of your life. Develop kindness and service oriented attitude.
Frequent meetings with like minded people shall greatly enhance your habit of selflessness. You can form a group and arrange frequent meetings at a convenient place and time. You can meditate and pray together for increasing selflessness among you and this society.
While cultivating habit of selflessness, your old habits of selfishness and ego may create hindrance. In addition, your habit of self appreciation may also come on your way. You must keep in mind your goal of achieving selflessness. During this process, you learn to do well to others. Doing good to others leads to your good.
Positive effects of selflessness:
Selflessness is one of the most powerful medicines to keep you in good physical and mental health. Those they regularly practice selflessness are comparatively healthier. Your mind remains calm and your stress level remains within permissible limits. As a consequence there are fewer chances of depression, hypertension and related diseases like diabetes etc. Thus you remain happy and content and there is marked improvement in your overall health and you live longer.
Habit of selflessness also improves your social health. Selfless people are more acceptable among family, friends, neighborhood, colleagues, relatives and other social gatherings. People love and respect them.
Difference between selfishness and selflessness can be defined in one sentence. Selfish people make life difficult for others and selfless people make life comfortable and memorable. If you want to be selfish, you can choose to be ‘selfish’ in adopting selflessness in your behavior and be happy. And if want to selfless, you would always live happy life practicing selflessness in your life. It is a win-win situation for you. Choice is yours.
Quotes for Thoughts
“We are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.” ~Buddha
“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” ~Dalai Lama
“If your love is only a will to possess, its not love.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
“The perfect man has no self; the spiritual man has no achievement; the sage has no name. “ ~Chuang Tzu
“Only a life lived for others is worth living.” ~Albert Einstein
“The best way to find you is to lose yourself in the service of others.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
“To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own.” ~Abraham Lincoln
“You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.” ~Winston Churchill
“Almost every sinful action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive. It is a trait we hate in other people but justify in ourselves. ” ~Stephen Kendrick
“Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment.” ~Anthony Robbins
“Real love is when you become selfless and you are more concerned about your mate’s or children’s ego than your own. You’re now a giver instead of a taker.” ~Sylvester Stallone