What does it mean to be truly selfless? Let’s start with what it is not. Selflessness is not a lack of caring or compassion for ourselves. It is not a disregard of our own needs.In fact, it is not even putting the needs of others before our own.
Selflessness is when we have more concern for the greater common good of a project or venture than we do for our own personal gain. It is common in volunteering in a group setting. Whereby one person forsakes how they think it should be in favor of the group consensus.
In volunteering or benevolent activities, this forgoing of the typical “me first” attitude so common in today’s world is pivotal for success. While sometimes we might have the right idea about something or the best answer in how to approach a task, it is crucial to let everyone have their say as well.
We often hear of selfless actions in recognition speeches about how tirelessly Susan worked extra hours despite the things in her life such as family or health to see the project through. Or how Mr. Winthorpe gave selflessly to the coffers of the endowment of the arts, etc… These are just a few examples, however of acts of selflessness.
What about in relationships? How can we give of ourselves in a way that adds to the relationship? Is there more that we can give? Should we give more of ourselves, or are we just being used?
In the case of relationships of a loving manner. The answer is to undoubtedly, give more. In order to grow love, we must give of ourselves without expectation of return. If we hold back on love, we are creating bigger problems for the relationship. We are essentially saying, “I love you but only if you do x, y, z…”
That is not only not selfless, but it’s not love. Selfless love is saying that you understand the risk involved in opening yourself up to someone, you see the capacity for emotional loss and laughing in the face of danger charge forth into the vast unknown of love. Selflessness is saying that while you really would prefer this, it is ok if we do this instead because your sweety would rather.
But do not mistake selflessness for apathy, and do not let another abuse you’re giving nature. On some level, you still have to look out for number one. If you’re simply bending and breaking and giving in to someone’s whims, you may be in a dictatorship more than a relationship. In which case you should exit stage left- And fast!
Yet, when a group of volunteers or a romantic couple equally acts selflessly towards each other, what grows is something more beautiful and pure that will last the test of time. So, therefore, if you’re in a group project or just a relationship, the best course of action is to give freely of yourself and don’t hold back the talent you add to the team. Your contributions are equally important as the others. Success comes when everyone gives of themselves freely without expectation of return. So tell me, what do you have to offer this world?