In anything that you do, you’re always seeking your own happiness. Whether that happiness comes by helping others or not.
Just because someone does something generous for others doesn’t mean that they’re not being selfish. Assuming they’re giving from the heart, their acts are exactly what brings them happiness—what furthers their selfish goals.
With that said, there are two types of selfishness; one that comes from the heart, and one that expects something back; one that comes from abundance, and one that comes from lack; one that gives to people, and one that takes from people.
The person who gives from the heart is happy with the act in itself; the person who gives to get something back, builds resentments and expectations, which if not met turn into revenge. The first one gives from the heart, the second takes in the giving. The first one is healthy, the second one is toxic.
To practice personal growth might at first seem “selfish” in a negative light. But as you improve yourself, you improve the lives of those around you; you lift everyone up with you. You give to others through your work and through your own example. You use no one and it all comes from your own abundance.
To contrast, charity work might at first seem selfless. But if you do it to get an award for it, then you’re not doing it to give at all. The whole selfless scheme is just a means for your own gain. And when you find out that there is no award for it, you’ll probably become resentful and retaliate as revenge.
Everyone is selfish, but not in the same way. One gives and the other takes.
”Selfishness does not mean only to do things for one's self. One may do things, affecting others, for his own pleasure and benefit. This is not immoral, but the highest of morality. ― Ayn Rand
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