It can be easy to become self-centered and I can easily see why so many people become so engrossed in doing things for their own self interest.
Whether it is money you are after or climbing the corporate ladder, being self-centered seems to be the logical approach to getting what you want.
But you must remember this – if it is money you want, or that promotion, or that project you need to complete, you ultimately will have to rely on other people and people will be less willing to work with you if you are self centered.
You will also find that if you are self-centered, there will be no one there to help you in your time of need when you need assistance the most.
So here are 12 ways you can combat self-centeredness:
1) Really Listen
Really listen to what others are saying and try to absorb anything they tell you. This may seem like common sense, but when some of us are in a conversation, we are just hearing the words people are saying and not really understanding or listening.
Try to remember the things that are going on in others lives. Nothing is worse than asking the same questions to the same person each and every time you meet.
Think about it – how would you feel if every time you met a particular person, they have to ask you what you did for a living? To me, I’d feel as though they really never cared about what I was telling them the first time and that they were probably more concerned about themselves.
2) Offer To Help
If you can afford the time and effort, you should always try to offer help. Perhaps a neighbor or a family member is installing hardwood floors or installing a new garage door – offer to help.
Even things like offering to drive someone to the airport or offering to pick something up for them without being asked will make you really come across as someone who looks out after others.
These little offers to help go a long in building lasting relationships and even though they may be small favors, to others, it will feel as though you are going out of your way to help.
Normally whenever I tell others I’m doing something (like painting a bedroom) and someone offers to help, I usually decline the offer – but in the back of my mind, I’m very appreciative of their willingness to help. Those offers to help me don’t go unnoticed and I will usually be the first to come to the aid for those who have offered help in the past.
3) Be Humble
Got a brand new big screen TV or a new antique vase? Don’t brag and don’t bring it up unless others ask about it, and even when they do ask, you don’t have to make it out to be such a big thing.
Instead, let that new big screen TV or that antique vase do the talking for you. There is no need to point it out to others or to add further commentary lest you wish to make yourself seem more materialistic and more egotistical than you really are.
If all you do is talk about how expensive or how high the quality of your brand new TV is, you’ll not only turn off your audience, but you will also lose the intended effect the TV was supposed to have in the first place because others will begin to think “who cares?”.
4) Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
The Jones’ got a new car? A new living room set? A new BBQ set?
These are the kinds of things that can lead to jealousy if you are constantly comparing yourself to others. By constantly trying to keep up with the Jones’, you will slowly start doing everything and anything to keep up or to get a step ahead of them.
Are you one step ahead of the Jones’?
Well then there’s no reason for you to tell everyone that you are one up on them because if you do, this will just aggravate the situation and will only promote more of this competitive behavior by the “Jones”.
Instead, just be happy for the “Jones” – there’s no need to show who’s better than the other because in the end when you die, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway.
5) Get A Compliment, Give A Compliment
When someone gives you a compliment, give a compliment back to them.
It should be a great honor in itself to receive a compliment from someone and one of the best ways to thank them for the compliment is to give one back in return.
As an example, if someone says something like “You’re a good husband”, then come right back with something like “Well, I’m not as good as your husband! He’s much more ______ than me!”. You will be surprised at how well received your “rebound” compliment is taken.
In fact, this will encourage them (as well as others) to compliment you more often on the things you do well and perhaps even on things that you hadn’t even thought of. You will find that these compliments will only encourage you in everything that you do and will give the impression that you are thinking of others and that you are not just thinking about yourself.
6) Remember To Always Give Thanks
Whenever someone helps you, offers you things, or gives you things, always remember to thank them. Even if it’s a small insignificant thing, saying “Thank You” shows your appreciation.
Sometimes it may be wise to even go a little out of your way to show your appreciation. Things like taking someone out for dinner as thanks for something they did helps show how genuine your “thanks” really meant to them.
The last thing you want is to be thought of as being ungrateful because the more ungrateful you appear, the less people will be willing to do things for you.
7) Give Praise
If you talk about other people, try to praise them and keep negativity out of the conversation. Doing this will show the strength of your character because you aren’t negative about other people behind their backs.
Spread a little positivity when it comes to discussing other coworkers or neighbors and you will come out on top as a positive person. Before you know it, everyone will want to work with you or have healthy discussions with you.
If all you do is criticize or bad mouth others, people will begin to get the impression that you think you are better than everyone else and if word gets around about what you’ve been talking about, more and more people are bound to start talking about YOU behind YOUR back.
8) Whatever Actions You Take, Think Of Others And Not Just Yourself
If it’s more money you are after, don’t just think of it as having more money for yourself – instead think of the financial security this extra money can provide for your family and how you’ll be able to share the fruits of your labor with your friends.
Whatever it is that you do and whatever actions you take, don’t do it just to accomplish a self-serving goal – think of how it could be of benefit to others.
By having this mentality, you are bound to find others that are willing to help you and aid you in your cause. Not only that, the actions you take will be done for the greater good of many and will be much more rewarding once your goals are accomplished.
9) Keep An Open Mind
Uncle Ted declared bankruptcy again? Your cousin is pregnant out of wedlock again? Your friend Joe has been fired for the 5th time this year?
Before you start gossiping to others about the goings on about these poor individuals, stop and really have an open mind when thinking about their situations. Put yourself in their shoes instead of thinking that you are better than them.
I’d venture to guess that some folks would probably be delighted to hear such grim news about other people because it makes them feel better about themselves…they’ll start thinking “I’m glad it’s not me”, or even “Ha, look at his situation, I’m at least nowhere near his level of incompetence”.
Also think about how you would feel if something bad happened to you? If you are the gossiping type and something bad happened to you, I can guarantee you that others will be talking about it and I wouldn’t be surprised if others were happy that it happened to you. After all, you did the same things to them, didn’t you?
10) Be Genuinely Concerned About Others
If you hear someone was involved in a car accident or that a coworker is sick, be genuinely concerned about them. Even if you’ve never met the person in question, your main concern should be those whose lives they touched.
Ask if they are alright and ask if there is anything you can do to help. Treat everyone as though they are family – when you care about others, others will care about you.
By expressing your concern in this manner, you are letting others know that their concerns are also your concerns – something that is highly valued by most people.
11) Involve Others In Your Plans
If you are planning a road trip or even just a simple BBQ at home, ask if others would like to join. This will really show that you like the company of others and that you are willing to share your experiences with them.
Don’t think of how that road trip or that BBQ as something that should only be enjoyed you – instead think of it as being shared and enjoyed by those around you. Besides, the more the merrier and I’m sure you’ll have a much better time in a group than by yourself.
Whenever we’ve been invited to a road trip or even a vacation by other couples, I felt honored to have been included in their plans, even though I know that they’d probably much rather spend that romantic vacation on their own.
12) Be A Good Host
Whenever you have guests over, be a good host. Make your guests feel as though your home is their home and above all else, make them feel welcomed.
Remember to do the usual – ask if they want a drink, if they’d like to snack on anything, if you can put away their coat. This makes others feel as though you are putting their comfort before your own comfort.
It is that repeated concern for others that people will remember and will help make it less likely they will think of you as being self-centered.