If you would like to define selflessness, then it’s a tricky one. Some people will argue that selflessness does not exist because when you do something without reward, you still gain the warm, fuzzy feeling of helping others. However, the best way to define selflessness is to say it is an act of forsaking yourself to benefit another.
The majority of people will point to parenthood as the greatest example of selflessness. Most parents prioritize the needs of children ahead of their needs and they do so without an expectation of the favor being returned. That doesn’t mean that childless people can’t be selfless, of course, it’s simply a great example of selflessness.
If you haven’t been living a selfless life, I have good news for you. It’s not too late – you can learn to be selfless and you can start today. Through acts of selflessness, you can experience joy.
If you open a dictionary to find the meaning of selflessness, you will find a variety of definitions. They vary from having little concern for yourself regarding money, fame, or position to acting on a desire to help others without receiving compensation.
To act selflessly simply means that you act in a way that expresses love and reserves judgment. It could be giving your money, your time, or donating items you don’t need or use. It’s being able to express concern and focus on others. Selflessness boils down to motivation – true selflessness is an action that stems from the motivation to do the right thing.
It is compassion. It is empathy. It is love.
Selfless acts keep us connected; we show love by performing acts that benefit others. While we don’t act selflessly to receive something in return, there are benefits. Acting selflessly teaches mindfulness because it removes the focus from us and puts it onto the people we are helping. That mindfulness also makes us more observant to the needs of others. It engenders a new level of empathy and improves relationships.
Acting selflessly can also improve your health because it’s associated with a sense of inner peace and joy. With inner peace and joy come health benefits like stress management which reduces the levels of cortisol in your system, thus reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Selflessness also provides us with a new perspective. By helping others, we put ourselves in new situations and take ourselves out of our comfort zone. This broadens your mindset, changes how you think about things, and impacts how you perceive the world.
Acts of Selflessness
You can start practicing selflessness immediately. A great way to start is by performing an act of kindness daily. It can something different, anything from hugging your friend to changing plans to help a friend move or just slowing down to hold the door open for someone. Provided you help others for the simple sake of helping, then are practicing acts of selflessness.
There are easier ways to practice selflessness, like actively listening to people you speak to. If you often try to multi-task as someone speaks to you, put everything down, and give them your full attention. Not only does your undivided attention show the person that you are, but you will hear them and be able to respond appropriately. They will appreciate it.
Volunteering your time is another excellent way to practice selflessness. Time is the most precious human asset. You can volunteer at your church, local schools, libraries, shelters, or community centers.
If time is too precious an asset, as in you simply don’t have the time to dedicate to volunteering you can consider monetary donations. It’s easy to get caught up worrying around yourself in the fast-paced, selfish world in which we live. That doesn’t make you a bad person, but you can change the way you live, and start acting selflessly and find joy while you’re at it.
Check out more of our content below:
- 9 Habits of Highly Successful People
- Experience Joy through Acts of Selflessness
- Create Joy: Identify and Hold Onto Thoughts That Make You Feel Good
- Can Joy Help Protect Your Immune System
- How to Overcome Stress with Joy
- How Joy Affects Your Mental Health
- Find More Joy: Create a New Life Story
- The Effects of Joy on Your Body
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