I, Me, My, Mine

Birth is the beginning of a long journey to discover who you really are. We are work in progress from our first breath to our last. We are born confronting vast possibilities. We must forge through other people's ideas and perceptions and from all this environmental influence we must develop a self by choosing which of these raw materials that define the end result which is what you will become and who you are.

Author Eric Hoffer states, "Animals can learn, but it is not by learning that they become dogs, cats or horses. Only man has to learn to become what he is suppose to be."

Most people I have known in my life have various positive and negative aspects to their personalities. I do believe most people are inherently good. Even the best of people suffer from occasional unconscious selfishness.

I've discovered three primary components to selfishness that can easily be overcome once a person is made aware of the behavior.

Component #1 -- "I do what I want"

"I do what I want" has become a battle cry of the selfish person attempting to proclaim independence. Yet in truth our behavior and overall happiness peaks when we think about how doing what we want will affect those around us.

The definition of evil is the absence of empathy. To mindlessly plow through life only concerned with your needs, your desires, is the pinnacle of selfishness. When I hear someone say, "I do what I want," I can't help but think of the golden rule. If everyone did unto others as they would have them do unto you we would have a planet filled with happiness. Unfortunately that is not the case.

So instead of thinking about doing what you want, take a moment to consider the joys of doing for others.

Component #2 -- "The world runs on my schedule"

Have you ever noticed that people who show up late to an event or appointment are always in a much better mood then those who have been waiting for them? Habitual tardiness and lateness is a mere reflection of personal selfishness. They believe their time is more important than yours.

It is difficult to have a relationship with anyone who disrespects others' time. To do so on a continuing habitual basis is unforgivable. Sure everyone is occasionally late -- bad traffic, or even forgetting the appointment is an acceptable excuse. Except when lateness is so frequent it becomes part of the selfish personality disorder.

We can eliminate being habitually late by better preparation and scheduling of our time. Not to make this effort is selfish. To expect others to graciously offer you a pass for your inconsiderate behavior may work on occasion, but it is not how to develop strong relationships and trust with others.

Component #3 -- Ignoring consequences

Many people put no thought into the consequences of selfish behavior. They randomly go through life from one moment to the next without a plan for themselves or for those they love and care about. The consequences of habitual lateness hurts feelings, destroys trust and will eventually lead to others viewing you as irresponsible and unaccountable.

The consequences of always doing what you want without considering the ramifications of your actions can lead to many other problems that could even include legal issues.

Every action has a reaction. The more we think and analyze our own thoughts and behavior, the more clearly the equation to quality living becomes. Every human being should ask themselves if they would do for others what they do for themselves, would the world be a better place and would that person be happier? The best people I have known arethe people who care most about their fellow man. These are core values and a necessity for decency and harmony that we should all live by.