Tag Archives: Selfishness

Take Off the Blindfold: Is Your Selfishness Destroying Your Relationship?

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When you think about the word selfish, certain images (or people) probably come to mind.  I want to take a few moments and address selfishness in terms that you may not have considered before.  Where does it come from? How early does it begin to take root? Can something be done about it?  Let’s draw out the aspects of selfishness and develop a different perspective of its meaning through a brief scenario.

Imagine a child about two years old, with no discernible expression on his face. He sits quietly in a corner watching the hustle and bustle of the room around him. Father comes into the room, looks at his watch, then sits on the couch. The child rises and moves toward his father, arms outstretched. The father suddenly remembers the task that needed to be completed before he rushed off to work. Up he bounces, moving quickly past the child.

The child’s expression is distinctly noticeable now. His big brown eyes look sad as he lowers his arms and whimpers quietly. His eyes light up as he notices Mother, who has stepped out of the bedroom. His arms extend once more, craving a hug, some sort of affection from his mother. She stands by the couch and continues chatting on her cell phone. She proceeds down the hall into the darkness, as if not even noticing the child. The child’s arms and head both lower. He drops to the floor and sits quietly. Can you imagine what the child is feeling at this moment?

Dad is very involved in his work, keeping food on the table and a roof over the family’s head. Mother wants to do better, but Dad is so obsessed with his work that she has sole responsibility of the household, to say nothing of the fact that she too holds down a job. It’s tough to make ends meet these days. In fact, Dad is so caught up in his work, spending time with his guy friends, and keeping up with the latest sports scores that Mom feels neglected. His lack of attention makes her feel unattractive.

As time goes by, Mother becomes more irritable and less interested in making the marriage a go. She certainly can’t do it by herself. She can feel everything slowly slipping away. Some of  her downtime leads her to partake in a drink or two. This is a convenient way of numbing the pain. The frequency of her drinking increases as her disillusionment increases. Everyone is so caught up in themselves that there doesn’t seem to be much time for that poor child. All he wants is some love and affection, the security of someone who cares.

The family behaviors continue through the years. The little boy continues to reach out to his parents for that love in a variety of ways. Nothing seems to change for the long term so the child, now ten, comes to accept his fate. He begins to close off. He stops expecting. Many of you can feel for that child and understand his plight. Some of you may be able to relate on a very personal level.

How do you think this process develops over the years?  What do you think this dynamic looks like in adult relationships, in marriage? Do you think that it is important to adjust your perceptions of the adult world as you transcend your childhood upbringing?

A failure to update your script results in a child’s need for self-sufficiency in order to overcome the pain of not receiving what you were entitled to as you were growing up (love, affection, nurturing and affirmation, hugs, acceptance etc.) turning into adult selfishness. When I say adult selfishness, I  mean that you still view the world through your childlike perceptions.

In a marriage it is essential to develop an attitude of selflessness. Let’s take a few moments and think about the state of your current relationship. It’s easy to say that when we are steeped in turmoil and conflict that the entire problem is the other person’s fault. Perhaps your spouse has done some things that have hurt you very deeply. You are two different people and you are bound to do things that ruffle one another’s feathers. Fact is, it takes two people to make or break a marriage. It’s an issue of dynamics. I want you to meditate before the Lord and be honest. Ask Him to show you the areas in which you have helped to create or facilitate the current dynamics of your marriage. This will be a demonstration of taking responsibility for your part in moving the relationship in the direction it is currently. Taking responsibility is a major step toward change and healing, it is also a step toward growing beyond our own selfishness.

You’ll find more insights, exercises and techniques to work through selfishness in Marriage By Design which can be ordered through Amazon.com and B&N.com, more information available on this site.

You will be blessed as you grow your marriage.

©2017 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted. 

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Filed under Behavior, Beliefs, Family of Origin, Misconceptions, Selfishness, selflessness

Addressing the “Self” in Selfishness

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Filling the cracks of an eroding marital foundation begin with addressing areas in which YOU bear responsibility.  Blaming your mate will produce nothing but further distance between you.  Besides, you don’t have the ability to change your spouse, but you can change the dynamics by focusing on areas in which you need to grow.  After identifying areas in which we may be exhibiting selfish behaviors, what can we do about it? How can we change our selfishness?

  1. Present yourself to God; ask him to make you aware of your own selfishness. BE PREPARED: if you ask God to show you, he will be faithful. Your job is to be ready to receive it and do something about it.
  1. Meditate and internalize the following scriptures:

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. -John 15:13

Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.  -1 Corinthians 10:24

These particular scriptures remind me that my relationships are not about me but about loving others.

  1. Try doing the opposite of what you feel. It sounds unusual but consider that your autopilot may currently be guided by your hurt (not the best compass), so your natural tendency is to self-protect that hurt. Take a chance and see what happens. We can only update our script by taking chances and gathering new evidence to see if our childhood beliefs are still accurate. Have these childhood beliefs skewed our adult perception of relationships, of life? Challenge your adult perceptions. Are they accurate?

Remember, in spite of what happened in your childhood, regardless of the pain that may have been inflicted, intentionally or unintentionally, you are no longer that child. You are an adult and bear the consequences of your adult actions. Ask yourself, “What am I going to do about it?” It’s time to take responsibility for your own behavior. Seek God’s strength and help as you begin to take responsibility for the one thing that you can control: your own behavior.

In spite of the hurt and frustration you may be feeling, depending on the current state of your marriage, it is be important to begin taking responsibility for your own behavior and the decisions that you make. After all, who pays the consequences of your actions? Ultimately you do and perhaps your children.

Bless you in your desire to change.

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Behavior, Beliefs, Love, Self-Talk, Selfishness

It Starts in the Mirror

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It is essential that parents realize the impact they have on their children. Few things are as rewarding as the joy you feel when your little child runs up to you, throws their arms around your neck, and says, “I love you, Daddy!” In such moments they can do no wrong. Unfortunately, life with children is made up of many, many moments, and not all of them are like that.

In order to maneuver through the role of parenting we must first establish a foundation of trust and respect; these are imperative to growing a healthy relationship with children. Trust is established from the get-go. We receive our children as blank slates in many regards. In our hands we hold a tiny new totally dependent being that is counting on us to provide all their needs. These little beings also happen to be very egocentric, thinking everything revolves around them. Rightfully so; that’s all they know. When they want or need something, they want it now and they make no qualms about letting you know it. This can be difficult for some parents who don’t truly understand the selflessness required of a parent. I didn’t realize how selfish I was until I got married. I was used to having things a certain way, and I was never challenged in my preferences or personal goals. I was free to come and go as I liked and to spend my money on whatever I chose.

When I got married that all changed. I was in for a reality check, but this was also true of my wife. We both had to move to a place of selflessness to develop our marital relationship. At times we still struggle with our own selfishness. Well, we thought we had it down pretty well, then along came baby…and baby number two. God took us to a whole new place. We were forced to grow in ways neither of us anticipated. We learned firsthand what was meant by “life is a refining process.” Our growth is far from done, and we often find ourselves having to adapt and grow just as our children do.

Remember, training the selfishness out of our children is a journey that starts in the mirror!

In what ways do you see your own selfishness on display in your child(rens) attitudes/behavior? What areas of personal selfishness will you need to change to better the dynamics between you and your child(ren)?

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted. 

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Filed under Behavior, Parenting, Selfishness