If you think over the past week, or maybe even just today, you will undoubtedly remember a moment in which you did something for someone else, something that cost you in a personal or maybe financial way. You may also remember a moment in which you declined to do something because that cost was too great.
People are not always generous, nor are we continuously selfish. We make decisions depending on various factors, one being the real and vital present moment.
I don’t know how many times I have asked myself the question, Am I selfish if I do this thing and don’t do another thing? This question arises when someone asks us to do something reasonable and we have to decide if we accept or not. Without a doubt, many situations come to mind in which you have asked yourself this question, and often the answer is not a simple one.
For these reasons, I bring you seven traits that can help us in the path to discovering selfish behaviors and habits, in both ourselves and in others. When these habits are constantly produced, we can say that they are characteristics of people with overactive egos:
1. They do not show weakness or vulnerability.
One common and selfish reason to not help others is the fear of showing weakness, the fear of trying something and feeling that the action doesn’t actually help or serve much of a purpose. The person thinks that, by lending a hand to the person in need, he or she is demonstrating weakness or internal insecurity.
He or she will ignore the fact that everyone has weaknesses, and these weaknesses are what make us human, and are necessary to learn and to evolve.
2. They don’t accept constructive criticism.
People who have a self-centered attitude believe others will attempt to devalue their work and their potential. In this way, they will try at all costs to not recognize constructive criticism, often defending themselves with irony. It is very difficult for them to realize that they are wrong.
3. They believe they deserve everything.
Selfish people are characterized by inconsistency when pursuing their goals. We could say that they continuously change them and demand each time that they are valued and recognized as if they had a long history of pursuing that goal.
They can come to believe that they will always be successful because they just are, not caring who they have to get out of the way in order to get what they want.
4. They do not listen to those who do not agree with them.
Selfish people think those who are mature and intelligent are their enemies, and do not deserve their respect or attention. Listening and learning from the opinions of others is a good opportunity to broaden one’s horizons and grow. Do what you want to do, but never stop listening, and don’t ignore or turn your back on anything because you are afraid of it.
5. They criticize others behind their backs.
Egotistical people prefer easy judgement, behind the other person’s back. Deep down, they fear that they are not right and will pass this judgement from a distance.
They need to believe, for example, that all people who live in poverty do so because they don’t want to work, and prefer to live in the street or because they are not strong-willed and persistent enough to educate themselves. Sustaining these explanations can separate them mentally from people who live in uncertainty, not once considering the possibility that one day misfortune could come their way and put them in the same situation.
6. They exaggerate their achievements.
One of the most important and notorious deficiencies of selfish people has to do with a lack of humility. Humility is a precious human virtue that we need in order to grow as people and as social beings in our environment. Egocentric individuals will only cover up this personal potential, looking for ways to stand out and amplify their achievements.
They award themselves more responsibility when a project is successful, but make a run for the emergency exit when the project does not turn out well. You can count on them to sail the ship, only and always when the wind is in their favor. Difficult and demanding challenges are not made for them.
7. They are scared of taking risks.
Panic, terror. This is linked with the previous point; selfish people don’t consider failure because they never expose themselves to it. However, they don’t think twice about doling out severe criticism when others don’t get what they want. They are the first ones to tell you that you “should’ve seen that coming.”
If you recognize these traits in yourself, and realize that you’re not taking proper responsibility of your actions, then you’re already on the path to emotional maturity. It is then when you realize the pain you have caused and are causing to the people you love. Then is when you begin to grow and take risks. All of these tendencies mentioned here begin to change positively, and you begin to flourish in the right way. Stop being selfish; love your life and those around you.