Have you ever been accused of being selfish?  Most of us have and most of us are guilty of having moments when we really are thinking only of ourselves. It’s not a bad thing to make yourself a priority but we also need to have a balance. Here are some suggestions for how you can begin living a less selfish life.

Listen

Truly listening to others can be hard for some people. When someone is talking to you, work on being present in the moment with them. Don’t think about what you need to do later or what you want to say in response. Actively listen and let them know they have your full attention. It’s amazing how much this small action can affect a relationship.

Pick Up the Tab

There are so many reasons why you should pay for someone else’s meal, drink or treats. The first is that it’s just a nice gesture.  Second, if you are out with someone who is going through a tough time and you’re fortunate enough to be more financially stable, pick up the check. If you are concerned about embarrassing them, say something like “you’ll get it next time.” Third, do this randomly for a stranger. Pay for the order behind you in a drive-thru or bring treats to work during a stressful time.

Volunteer

Undoubtedly, there are volunteer opportunities in your area where you could really make a difference. Of course, there are homeless shelters and food banks but you can also check into humane societies if you prefer animals or the pediatric ward at a children’s hospital. It’s also becoming more popular to lend a helping hand at fundraisers and marathons/races dedicated to specific causes. Find your niche and change the world!

Pay Attention

With our faces and attention focused on the screens of our smartphones, tablets and laptops, we may miss the opportunity to notice the needs of those around us. Make a point of putting down your devices when you are sharing a meal, conversation or together time with someone. All of those cat memes and quizzes will still be there later but our moments with our friends and family are fleeting.

Stop Judging

We’ve all inwardly rolled our eyes while listening to the woes of someone whose struggles we’ve deemed minor. The truth is that, regardless of the issue, it’s a big deal to them and we should never compare our problems to someone else’s. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses and it never feels good to be on the receiving end of people downplaying our problems. Never make someone feel stupid for feeling overwhelmed.

When we stop being selfish with our time, money and emotions, magical things really can happen in our lives and in the lives of those around us. This is the perfect time of year to get started. Never underestimate your ability to change lives.