How do I stop being selfish?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My boyfriend just broke up with me recently because he says i am selfish and i only think about me and until i can figure it out he will come back to me again. He really loves me and i love him too but i just dont understand how to be unselfish and make the relationship work..?? He has tried telling me and helping me but its no use. I dont know what to do anymore and i want him back. How can i change myself and be more unselfish??

A: Of course you can change – if change is necessary. It’s possible that your boyfriend has impossible demands and is calling you the selfish one. But it’s also possible that he is giving you valuable feedback. In order to determine which is the truth, I’d need to know exactly what you and your boyfriend mean by “selfish.” Perhaps you could do a little survey and see if people other than your bf think you are too self-centered.

If so, the good news is that you are only 18. Your habits aren’t so practiced and entrenched that it would be difficult to change them. Start by carefully observing people who you think are especially generous and kind and try to become more like them. Do some reading. Practice generosity whenever you can. After a few months, take your “survey” again.

If you are happy with the result, continue the program until it becomes second nature. If, on the other hand, you think you could still use some improvement, you could consider working with a therapist for a few months to get some support and some practical pointers.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 Jul 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). How do I stop being selfish?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/07/25/how-do-i-stop-being-selfish/