“People were invited to donate anonymously and investigators measured their brain activity. And the fact is that every time that someone was donating something they are activated in the pleasure area of the brain.” Students’ Institute study.
A lot of studies have been done to establish the impact of “soft behaviors” like generosity and empathy on the brain and the general system of human society. Such behaviors can help us to develop better educational and social processes that will increase the well-being of human beings.
But of course, the change starts in every one of us, and normally in the small things!
The question is: how can we become more generous and emphatic? The answer is simple: by being selfish. Yes, we know that this word has gained a very bad reputation, and a lot of people are trying to sell the idea that we all need to think more about others than ourselves. Well, not only that is impossible, because we cannot think outside of our own brain, but it would also not increase our emphatic system, because if that were possible, it would mean we would be outside of ourselves, just looking at others without any emotional impact. So, we need our selfish way of being to be able to feel and connect with the outside world. In other words, being selfish is the ability to take care of ourselves.
“No one can give what one doesn’t have.”
We use this sentence a lot, to illustrate that we need to be able to take care of ourselves to be able to take care of others, be that family, friends, colleagues or someone in the street.
What does it mean to be selfish?
Respect your own emotions
Emotions are a disturbance of the system and are like a radar for the state of the relationship between us and the outside world. So, if you are having any kind of emotion, it either means that this relationship needs some attention, or is on a great track. Not recognizing or trying to fight your emotions will bring lots of frustration and emotional pain, which will be felt by everyone around you.
Talk to yourself as you would like people to talk to you
Use kind words. Be polite to yourself. The way you talk to yourself will be the way you talk to others. Even when you change the words, the intention will be there.
Smile to yourself
Before you smile to anyone else, give yourself a smile, even when things are not going as you wanted. Everyone can see the difference between an honest, internal smile and an external smile. The ability to laugh about our own disasters and bad things will also make others more accepting of our failures.
Be kind to yourself
Normally people are really good at saying “I’m not enough” or “I’m not good enough”. Sometimes people have even harsher and more drastic judgments of themselves. This is the best way of putting yourself in a place from which you will not be able to help yourself or anyone else to improve or change emotional and physical state.
Other people will love you only a little bit more that you love yourself. They will not love you drastically more than you love yourself.
Remember: you don’t need to make an effort to be a “good person”; you just need to be happy in your own skin, so you can give the best of yourself to everyone else.
Peter Koijen and Ligia Ramos, in2motivation