“Don’t be so selfish!”, “That was SELFISH…”, “I can’t believe how selfish she is”…

None of us want to be considered Selfish. With synonyms like “egocentric, egotistical, inconsiderate, tactless, unkind” it is no wonder!

I believe SELFISH is the biggest hurdle to SELF LOVE out there and we all need to shift from a scarcity to an abundance mindset and take a little time to consciously be more considerate of others. (that is basically what this entire post is about so if you only read a bit of it make that your sound bite)…. Lol.

  1. (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.
    “I joined them for selfish reasons”

    egocentric, egotistic, egotistical, egomaniacal, self-centred, self-regarding, self-absorbed, self-obsessed, self-seeking, self-serving, wrapped up in oneself, inward-looking, introverted, self-loving;

    inconsiderate, thoughtless, unthinking, uncaring, heedless, unmindful, regardless, insensitive, tactless, uncharitable, unkind;
    mean, miserly, grasping, greedy, mercenary, money-grubbing, acquisitive, opportunistic, out for what one can get;
    informallooking after number one, on the make
    “he is just selfish by nature”

Selfish is a horrible word right? Self-seeking, inconsiderate, money-grubbing… Does it mean that any time you profit or take pleasure personally you are being selfish? Or it is just when you are lacking consideration for others? And how can we take action that is concerned with our own personal profit or pleasure while considering all other people? I suppose that is the golden question really isn’t it. Because it appears that any time we profit, others tend to ‘miss out’ or so the ‘scarcity mindset’ would have us believe.

“Being poor requires so much mental energy that those with limited means — be they sugarcane farmers in India or New Jersey mall-goers — are more likely to make mistakes and bad decisions than those with bigger financial cushions.

This is the psychology of scarcity, says Princeton University psychology and public affairs professor Eldar Shafir, PhD, who with Harvard University economist Sendhil Mullainathan, PhD, explores how people’s minds are less efficient when they feel they lack something — whether it is money, time, calories or even companionship.

This scarcity mindset consumes what Shafir calls “mental bandwidth” — brainpower that would otherwise go to less pressing concerns, planning ahead and problem-solving. This deprivation can lead to a life absorbed by preoccupations that impose ongoing cognitive deficits and reinforce self-defeating actions. Shafir and Mullainathan offer insights into how to ease the burden in the 2013 book “Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much” (Times Books).” http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/02/scarcity.aspx

The thing about studies like those undertaken by Shafir or Mullainathan is that they point to the importance of mindset in creating significant shifts and driving measurable outcomes. The effect of cognitive shifts on decision making and behaviour was measurable and showed that by adopting an abundance mindset (there is enough) versus a scarcity mindset (I don’t have enough, I am poor), you can change the whole damn outcome.

So lets apply this thinking to SELFISH VERSUS SELF LOVE when it comes to one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

A scarcity mindset would suggest that if I am profiting or receiving pleasure… then someone is missing out. As a result, in this template of thinking, the algorithm basically leads us to believe that when someone is having a good time, there has to be a line of people missing out behind them.

What would happen, if we just flipped this template for a moment. If we just imagined that if someone is receiving profit or pleasure… then those around them are also more likely to receive profit and pleasure (this is more the law of attraction type thinking). Suddenly, as there isn’t anyone being compromised or missing out because of the gain, this moves from selfish to self love… doesn’t it?

Let’s imagine for a second, if there is $100 in a kitty with 5 people in a house (a metaphor for an organisation, family or community perhaps). The kitty doesn’t have any rules, people are welcome to dip into it to use it for spoils as they need to. Ideally benefiting all in the home. If one person spends the $100 on a massage and the other 4 are sat at home wishing they could have a massage too, then technically this is selfish right? What if all 4 voted for the 1 person to go for the massage? Oh that’s nice isn’t it… that is very selfless of them. What if the 1 person who was voted for gave it to the person in the house who probably needed it the most… that is selfless too hey. The key ingredient here is environment and consideration. Having an abundance mindset isn’t just about imagining that the universe will magically provide 4 x $100 massages for the people who miss out. It is about feeling confident that even if you are missing out this time, there will be other times and that people will inherently do the right thing by each other in the community. This energy shift is key. It is also about taking the time to have a look around and see who else is suffering or in need before you go take yourself off for that massage.

If Selfish is (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure… what is Self love and is it the polar opposite?

  1. regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.

The key word here is REGARD.

consider or think of in a specified way.
“she regarded London as her base”
synonyms:consider, look on, view, see, hold, think, think of, contemplate, count, judge, deem, estimate, evaluate, interpret, appraise, assess, make of, find, put down as, take for, account, reckon, treat, adjudge, size up, value, rate, gauge, sum up, weigh up
“we regard these results as encouraging”
1. attention to or concern for something.
“the court must have regard to the principle of welfare”
synonyms:consideration, care, concern, sympathy, thought, mind, notice, heed, attention, interest
“he has no regard for human life”
2. best wishes (used to express friendliness in greetings).
“give her my regards”
synonyms: best wishes, good wishes, greetings, kind/kindest regards, felicitations, salutations, respects, compliments, best, love; More
So in understanding the meaning of these concepts/words…Surely operating from a place where we think about our own well-being and happiness is a good thing right?? Sure, as long as it isn’t just rushing in and meeting our own needs… “oh, I need a massage, I’ll use the $100 in the kitty to go get a massage because that will make me feel well and happy” – because that then moves an action of self-love to that of self-fishness by neglecting to check in with others (consideration). But what about the whole “attach mask before helping others” thing we preach to Mums and Dads out there?? Doesn’t that mean we should be lacking consideration for others if we have unmet needs? This is why the answer is in the meaning of the word REGARD.
You see, if we all go around making sure our needs are met and that we are responsible for our well-being and happiness and personal profit and pleasure – but we do it whilst having a REGARD, a consideration, a thought, a kindness, a respect… with LOVE for others…. then the benefit associated with the profit/pleasure related to wellbeing or happiness (or material or whatever) becomes SELF-LOVE instead of SELFISH – the answer is LOVE. Do things with love and consideration and kindness and thoughts for others… and you’ll never be considered selfish again…. even if you’re the one taking the $100 to take yourself for a massage (hmmmm maybe not the best example but you get what I mean).

Some rules to live by to shift from scarcity mindset and selfishness to abundance mindset and SELF LOVE to boot:

  1. Above all, do all things with LOVE and Consideration – if you’re being loving and doing things with loving energy and demonstrating that you have thought about others, shown others consideration and kindness… then even somewhat more selfish actions and motives are softened (Wow, that is a mouthful and I am certainly going to practice my hardest at this!!)
  2. Look after your health and wellbeing… (sounds so simple…. but definitely need some practice here too!)
  3. Don’t be loving on yourself so much you miss that you’re actually hurting or neglecting others in the process. (whoops, guilty here too)
  4. If there is only $100 in the kitty (metaphor for life in teams, families, communities), take the time to consider who could benefit from the resource the most before rushing in to self service.
  5. Take a little time to scan your environment and think about the needs of others (emotional, financial, health, wellbeing, happiness).
  6. Contemplate…. Consider….Think about things…. do all things consciously and with love and kindness. (I try sooooo hard with this but it is easy to slip into autopilot and miss the signs!)
  7. Ditch the scarcity mindset…. sacrifice this round for someone in greater need, knowing that there is plenty of pleasure and profit for all.


  • Sarah Nally

    WONDER CONDUCTOR | Founder of The Wonder Tribe | Writing: The Wonder Mindset™ | Hypnotist | Wonder Junkie

    Sarah is a wonder conductor; wired to create and connect; obsessed with wonder, productivity, creativity, innovation and curious about all things. She has a gift for sythesizing seemingly disparate concepts and ideas, a human metadata analyst with a knack for seeing new solutions to old problems. She is a qualified hypnotherapist and obsessive meditator who is passionate about changing the future of work, normalising flexibility, mumpreneurs and women in business. She produces mind altering events (including www.nurtureher.com, www.wiredforwonder.com). She is the founder of The Wonder Tribe (www.thewondertribe.co), a creative consultancy to create the kind of culture you want to be famous for, Female Business Retreat (www.nurtureher.com) and successful baby shoe company Sienna baby (www.siennababy.com.au) She is a Design Thinking Coach, Hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner with a Bbus Human Resource Management and Psychology from Monash University in Melbourne.