Any time you make negative choices that are designed to avoid being called “selfish”, you’re in the Unselfishness Trap. The notion of being unselfish is not putting yourself first but being willing to sacrifice your time, money, effort or happiness for others.
Believing you must put others’ happiness ahead of your own puts you in the Unselfishness Trap
It isn’t that others’ aren’t important. You may have a self-interest in someone’s well-being and giving a gift can be a gratifying expression of the affection you feel for him. But you are in the trap if you do these things in order to appear unselfish.
You may know a great deal about the desires of your close friends, but the random giving of gifts and doing favours for others is usually a waste of resources. Even worse, sometimes it can upset the well-laid plans of those receiving the gesture.
Spend time on yourself
If your purpose is to make someone happy, you’re most likely to succeed if you make yourself that person. You’ll never know someone else more than a fraction as well as you can know yourself. Do you want to make someone happy? Go and do it – use your talents, insight and generosity to give masses of happiness upon the one person you understand well enough to do it efficiently – yourself. I guarantee that you will see a more genuine appreciation from yourself than from anyone other person.
An efficiently selfish person is sensitive to the needs and desires of others, where they stand apart is that they do not consider those desires to be demands upon themselves. Rather, an efficiently selfish person see the needs as opportunities; potential exchanges that might be beneficial to their self. By identifying desires in others, they are able to decide if exchanges with them will help achieve their desired outcomes.
The Unselfishness Trap forces you to sacrifice your needs for others’
An efficiently selfish person doesn’t sacrifice themselves for others, nor do they expect others to be sacrificed for him. This person takes a third alternative by finding relationships that are mutually beneficial so that no sacrifice is required.
Do not be concerned about being labelled “selfish” – everyone is selfish. Everyone is doing what he or she believes will make themselves happier. The recognition of that can take most of the sting out of accusations that you’re being “selfish.” Why should you feel guilty for seeking your own happiness when that’s what everyone else is doing, too?
To find constant, profound happiness requires that you be free to seek the gratification of your own desires. It means making positive choices. Escaping the Unselfishness Trap is one of those choices.