If you struggle with selfishness, you are not alone. It can be really hard to put others first and yourself second.
It takes time and effort to become selfless, it will be a work in progress over your whole life. You will find yourself in situations where you can make a difference and become truly selfless, even for a moment.
Your Self is the thing that stands in the way of true compassion. Your Self is always putting yourself in the center of the universe, demanding things, and becoming angry when you do not get what you feel you deserve.
You will blown away to learn how much you think about yourself, and how often you believe (without admitting it to yourself) that you deserve to be treated a certain way, that others should act the way you want them to act.
When someone irritates you, your Self is angry because they are not acting the way you want them to act. You think you are entitled to have the World behave the way you want it to behave.
When someone does not clean up after themselves, you get irritated because you think you are entitled to everyone acting the way you want them to act.
When someone gets in your way or cuts you off in traffic, you get irritated, because you think they should not be in your way. Everyone should watch for where you are going and clear a path.
When someone else needs help, you think first about how it will affect you. When something unexpected happens in your personal life, you think first about how it will affect you. When people are talking, you think about how what they are saying relates to you.
Compassion starts with empathy.
Imagining putting yourself in the mind of another person, and imagining what they are going through. We are probably wrong about what they are going through, because we can not know, but without this imaginative process we can’t have compassion.
Once you have empathized, and feel their suffering, the second half of compassion is wanting to end that suffering, and taking action to ease that suffering in some way. Empathy is incredibly important, but if you are thinking about yourself first, and only yourself, you can not empathize.
You must get yourself out of the way, and think of the other person.
When you think about how you should be treated, what you want, how something will affect you, you can not also be thinking of the other person and how something will affect them, how they should be treated, what they want.
So to empathize, we must get out of the way. Be selfless rather than selfish. The first step is you have to become aware of your selfish thinking. Get yourself out of the way, so that compassion becomes possible.