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Selfishness

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Hi, /adv/

I think I might be very selfish, but I have no idea how to be... less so.
I mean, I don't even feel like meeting my own needs (mainly because I think of them as warped in one way or another), so why should I cater to those of others? Doing things just to get the approval of others sounds just as bad.
You might say: "You just do that out of your own kindness, without expecting anything in return", but i don't believe anyone actually does anything out of pure kindness. Sure, some might have way less expectations than others, but I think everyone, deep down, wishes for some sort of compensation: at best, one might think "If I get something out of this, it's cool; otherwise, better luck next time".

Or is it one of those things that you either understand by heart or you're simply left out of it?


TL;DR: I'm selfish, and I don't know how to not be. (I don't even think one could choose to not be).
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So I saw my first real homeless guy a few months ago and I decided to drop off a new sleeping bag at his spot while he wasn't there. There's a few things I can hope to get out of that, first it would be nice if I made a good impression, and second it helps make the city a better place.

I don't think it's a zero-sum game, imagine any decent/nice place, it'll have people doing nice things for each other mutually. Doing something which had absolutely no effect on you would be hard because the world is complex. Also there really is no need for it. Like what do you expect, you did something out of pure kindness, *achievement unlocked*, then what.
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>>16586245
i can relate because i used to be the type of person to hang out with friends cause I was bored, etc.

it made me think people dont really do anything out of pure kindness either. but i learned that just because you're selfish, it doesn't mean everyone else is. how do you overcome this? you do nice things for other people without expecting anything in return. realize that it's possible and happens, and that you doing it wouldn't be the first time in history (or even that day). you just have to force yourself at first. you'll realize it will make you feel good about yourself while helping others. being nice to others and selfless serves the self, it's a paradox but a good one. eventually you'll start doing it because it makes you feel good. after that, you'll eventually start doing it solely because you want to help that person and know that you feeling good about it means so much less
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>>16586311
>then what
Then nothing. Only, this “kindness” seems an artificial and watered down version of what it's supposed to be.

>>16586333
I am not saying everyone else is selfish; I am saying that, with very few exceptions, altruism -- at least as far as I've been able to see -- is ultimately kinda selfish.
By what you've written, it sounds like -- if you're not naturally inclined to be selflessly nice -- the solution is forcing yourself to do nice things for others until... what, you delude yourself into thinking you like it?
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>>16586413
seriously man, with that attitude you're only hopes are self-destruction. you mature and realize you actually like helping people who are worth your time, for nothing in return. why? because they're decent people too and need a hand. sometimes they're not decent people and you have it in you to help them grow up and deal with them in the meantime. i'm doing the latter, coming from a place of always being selfish when i was younger.
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>>16586311
Wow I probably saw 100 homeless people just this week!
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>>16586447
>with that attitude you're only hopes are self-destruction
Well, sorry for my attitude: that's the only one I know of.

>you mature and realize you actually like helping people
I'm pretty sure I'm missing something here, because this sounds really unhelpful: you can't just choose to become "mature".
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>>16586245

Yeah, you're fucked. What can you do? None of us can do anything about it. Keep stumbling along is all you can do. Get some hard knocks.
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>>16586585
Thanks for the unadvice.
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Haha you shoot down every piece of advice you're given, so what's the difference?

I'm not trying to come down on you I'm just saying. I've been there, ok? I know. You need to change, but there's nothing I can say that is going to make you change.

Some people just have a harder time in life.
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>>16586413
Isn't this kind of ironic? you care about whether the idea of kindness feels good to you, while other people are trying to improve everyone's lives.
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>>16586571
people who are mature do things that are worthwhile. they aren't done meaninglessly, which means that they get fulfillment out of them because it makes sense for them to. you have to act selfless even if you aren't and it bothers you before you will realize that it's worthwhile. how else can you learn to be selfless if you aren't the type of person who is selfless from the start? i only said with that attitude because you take it that the only way to become a non-selfish person is to delude yourself. i didn't delude myself, i learned how to not be. but if you only think you're deluding yourself, then you'll never learn to be not selfish. and selfish people dont have things turn out well
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>>16586640
>you shoot down every piece of advice you're given
What advice are you referring to?
All I read - and please correct me if I'm wrong - was along the lines of "be nice anyway", with the implication that I need to mature in order to understand that. Was I supposed to go "Welp, time to go mature"? Because I don't think it works like that.

>>16586665
That's selfishness, I guess.
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Selfishness is a symptom of grief or suffering. When you stub your toe, the pain in that instant is the ONLY fucking thing you're thinking about; your pain, how you feel about it.
So it goes with all pains in life.
> I don't even feel like meeting my own needs (mainly because I think of them as warped in one way or another)
Whatever those needs are, meet them, as long as it's no skin off of someone else's nose. Before you can worry about how you're going to help someone else, you have to help yourself.
>but i don't believe anyone actually does anything out of pure kindness.
They do it whenever there's nothing better to do. An act of kindness is not necessarily a difficult thing, particularly when you have all you can want and then some.
There's the social aspects of it too, the chance to show off your wealth and abilities (I remember getting a kick out of helping my neighbor's kids with their math homework), and a bit of satisfaction that comes from making someone else happy.
There's probably a reproductive instinct to it too. Generosity is an inherently attractive trait, and I think most people know that.
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If you feel good helping people, aren't you being selfish? Even if you consciously think you aren't expecting anything in return, really, your subconscious just wants to feel good, think it's doing good things.
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>>16586852
If it does count as "selfishness," your definition of the word is too broad to be useful.
The "selfish" pursuit of other people's happiness is a very old and very normal aspect of human existence and a sign of excess, while the selfish fixation on your own problems is a sign of hard times.
Take that how you will, but I don't see anything inherently negative about that sort of kindness, particularly when you consider the alternatives.
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>>16586940
Who's the guy in the /gif/?
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>>16586794
>There's the social aspects of it
You touched a nerve there: having never really been anything other than selfish, I don't really see the appeal of it, and I think I only want to be generous in order to get people to like me. And I feel this is bad.
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>>16586956
Peter Hitchens, also known as the lesser Hitchens, because he's the late Christopher Hitchens's brother.

He's a britbottle conservative.
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I have this same problem because I have NPD. It makes me uninterested and unsympathetic. My therapist basically recommended the "fake it" strategy and told me I'd never make it.
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>>16586960
Is it bad, or are your notions of what is "good" short sighted? Consider the greater picture. People are moved to do incredible things because of those mundane urges.

That said, it seems you've identified at least one of your "needs."
Generosity might gain you attention, but it won't earn friends. That has to come from participating in group activities, like work, school, or a hobby.
Hell, my family members are practically friends of mine in their own right...maybe you should start there, yeah?
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>>16586994
I've always heard about how a person should not look for somebody else's approval, but rather for his own. I don't seem to have any real interest in either, though (not enough to actually get off my ass and do anything, at least).
Also, my wide range of anxieties and insecurities -- along with being easily discouraged -- prevents me from trying anything: I don't really like facing my limits.
Also, I usually feel somewhat detached from people (it might have something to do with being self-absorbed), so I have a hard time connecting.

It's like I have traits opposite to those that make people attracted to you.
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>>16586794
>They do it whenever there's nothing better to do. An act of kindness is not necessarily a difficult thing, particularly when you have all you can want and then some.

This. Selflessness and generosity come from a sense of abundance. When you are happy and want to share this happiness with other people.

But it's not the whole picture. If we live in scarcity (of wealth, love, anything) for the most of our lives we build habits around this. We aren't generous even when we have enough, because we don't have a habit to do so.

So the solution is to take care of yourself AND consciously choose to share with others what you have in abundance.
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>>16587168
>choose to share with others what you have in abundance

Unless we're talking about something measurable, how is one supposed to know what is abundant and what isn't?
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Helping other people creates a larger impact than just helping yourself. You should stop thinking of it so cut and dry. You help someone out and it can make both of you happy. They can go home to their families in a better mood and make all of them happier and so on.

You don't have to do self-sacrificing things all the time, especially if you can't even take care of yourself. But small acts of kindness make the world an infinitely more enjoyable place to live. Not just for others, but for you too. If you see yourself as an island, separate and independent from everyone I think that's a warped and incorrect way of viewing the world.
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>>16587204
Same way you know what's big and what's small, or what's simple and what's complex. You judge for yourself.
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>>16587204
You can't know it, you have to feel it. You are not just your mind, take body into equation.

I admit I haven't experienced much of these abundance feelings. Those I have happened mostly when I had good news and wanted to share it with people I know.
Thread posts: 27
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