Today’s guest blog is from Drs. Evelyn and Paul Moschetta, who are marriage and family therapists and regular contributors at YourTango. I love their post and reminder about selfishness. It’s a struggle to compromise and put the other person first sometimes…but worth it.
Healthy, happy relationships are based on caring, cooperation, and commitment. Your partner and relationship must be a top priority for you. Selfishness, or being overly concerned with just your needs, wants, and feelings, prevents you from holding up your end of a mutually satisfying relationship.
Many people don’t recognize when they’re being selfish because they operate inside a bubble of me-first thoughts and beliefs. Putting yourself first becomes a habit, a taken for granted way of being. For example, with friends and colleagues you look for opportunities to put yourself center stage. You spend very little time listening because your focus is on pulling attention back to you. Eventually this way of being pushes others away from you. In your intimate relationship, it creates hurt and resentment.
Here are six ways to tell that you’re selfish:
1. You like being in control and find it difficult to compromise.
2. Giving and sharing do not come easily to you.
3. Putting your partner’s needs first, before your own, is very difficult.
4. You hear criticism as personal attacks.
5. You become moody when others have the spotlight.
6. Forgiving others is difficult.
It’s important to see that being selfish is not the same as being hostile or mean-spirited. Selfishness is not directed against others, it’s a misguided way of making yourself feel more adequate or worthy.
There is also no gene for selfishness; it’s a learned behavior. That means like any other bad habit it can be changed. Your relationships, intimate or otherwise, are the perfect place to practice changing. Use the everyday interactions that go on in your relationship as opportunities to be less selfish. Make a conscious effort to shift your focus from me first to we first.
Have you had any aha moments about selfishness? Were you able to correct the behavior?