For some reason the past couple of months I haven’t been able to shake thoughts about selfishness and greed, so I’m gonna get some of these thoughts out in the open in case they somehow offer perspective someone needs to read.
We all have a selfish nature. It can take a very intentional effort to not let that selfish nature define who we are and how we interact or relate to others. It gets on my nerves to hear people use the word “I” so much – especially when they begin every sentence with it. Using the word I so much is a sign of selfishness. Just listen to how it sounds. “I did…”, “I got…”, “I have…”, “I accomplished…”, “I earned…”, and in summary “I am awesome in my own not so humble opinion”. That’s basically how some people sound to me, and it’s just ridiculous.
A business communication class in college taught me to avoid using “I” so much, particularly as the first word in a sentence – probably because it sounds so self-centered. My parents had a very good one-line tough-love statement they used to teach me about selfishness. Any time I would selfishly fight to get my way my parents would simply remind me, “The world doesn’t revolve around you son.” Now I find myself using that line sometimes with my own children. It’s a very good lesson!
This general use of selfish language and mentality might be the problem in a lot of our relationships and marriages. Our friends might be annoyed by our constant focus on ourself, particularly through how we speak “I” constantly. There might be a communication disconnect between spouses that neither is even aware of, and it could be because one or both are constantly using the word “I” and “me”. Just think about that for a second. In the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman one of the love languages is words of affirmation. It’s kinda hard to be affirming to someone else with words when all we ever talk about is “I” and “me”.
- Take the focus off yourself for two seconds and think about someone else. I mean really THINK about them.
- Now think of a sentence that starts with “you” and ends with something good to say about that person.
- Now look at them and say the sentence you’re thinking. Yes – say it out loud.
Doesn’t that feel nice?