5 Signs You're Selfish and How to Change

5 Signs You're Selfish and How to Change

Last update: 11 December, 2016

As humans, we are programmed to look out for ourselves. However, there is a big difference between looking out for oneself and being selfish.

Thinking about oneself is not incompatible with generosity, selfless behavior and solidarity. In fact, in the society in which we live today, you can reap many benefits by being altruistic and generous. Benefits that are also intrinsic, so that will keep our motivation.

Many feel they must be selfish because others are selfish and society creates enormous insecurity. However, choosing a more generous life and being more interested in others and less individualistic is the best way to attract opportunities.

How to know if you are a selfish person

Human beings are naturally selfish because selfishness grew out of a need for survival. However, compassion was also born for the same reason. At the end of the day, human beings, as a species, probably would not have survived without our ability to form partnerships.

In this sense it is necessary to redefine selfishness and find the balance between our interests and those of the society in which we live.


1. Do you have trouble understanding the benefits of being generous?

Really, thinking about the common good or the good of others is also an action that is somewhat selfish because, at least in theory, what’s good for the group or the other also benefits the individual.

A selfish person is not able to see the advantages of sharing their time, knowledge or resources. Selfish people think that only that which benefits them is a true benefit or, worse, that it is better to have your own little benefit than a big benefit shared with others.

2. Do you get nervous when you have no control?

Being able to maintain control is a good thing, but what happens when the other person has control? What happens when you rely on others? Are you able to positively assume the responsibility of another? Can you respect their decision and submit to it?

For a selfish person, the contributions and needs of others are less important or valuable than their own.

Selfish people need to control everything affecting them, both directly and indirectly. That anxiety for control makes them overly critical of others and keeps them mentally circling anything that might involve sharing responsibility or lose some control.


3. Do you have trouble working in groups?

Collaboration requires the ability to listen, to take on commitments and accept the opinions and proposals of others. This is closely related to the obsession with the loss of control that we mentioned in the previous point. In this sense, the inability to work as a team could indicate a problem of selfishness.

Collaborative intelligence or collective intelligence is essential for anyone moving in a social setting. That is why collaboration is so important in all aspects, from learning to business expansion.

We can achieve more if we work together, if each contributes what they can and puts it at the service of others so that others continue exploring and expanding their knowledge. A selfish person is not able to see this because they think that what others earn is their loss, when in fact we all win.

4. Is it hard to take the blame?

Circumventing the fault is a standard way to justify something that has not gone well. Behind a person who is unable to take their share of responsibility is probably a selfish person who only knows how to avoid reprisals or looking bad.

However, taking responsibility is actually very liberating, as much as it is to accept a mistake made by others without judging or humiliating them for it. Accepting responsibility without the burden of guilt is a great act of generosity towards oneself, and that generosity is extended to others when necessary.

5. Do you feel that it is never enough and you want more every time?

If you are person who is not happy with what you already have, your main concern will always be having more and more, so that the needs of others will go into the background. A person who does not appreciate what he has will feel unfortunate and poor, and not be able to see the value of some things which, although insignificant, are what he really needs.


Behind someone superficial and materialistic is usually a selfish person who only feels interest in their own material needs and that, therefore, despises and/or ignores the needs of others, including their spiritual needs.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.