How to Be Unselfish in a Relationship


Some people are selfish and some are not. Some people are a fine balance between the two. It is necessary to be a little selfish in certain scenarios but not in a relationship. You shouldn’t be completely unselfish, to an extent that you don’t think what’s good for you and what’s essentially being exploited or taken advantage of. If both partners are selfish or unselfish, then they are on a level footing. If one partner is selfish, then it can be truly hard on the other. Here is how you can be unselfish in a relationship.

Two to Tango

There are two people in a relationship. The interests, needs and desires of both needs to be addressed. If it is your choice tonight then it must be your partner’s tomorrow. One doesn’t need to keep a count or play a tit for tat game. As long as both people have their opinions counted and their preferences taken into consideration through to the eventual and mutual decision, it is a healthy scenario. Two to tango is truly easier said than done. Those who are selfish would not find it easy to let go off what they want or like for someone. This is where patience and practice are quintessential.

Know your Partner’s Preferences

Two people who understand each other very well will often develop mutual interests and will end up liking or disliking the same things. This may take years to happen in many cases. Lack of understanding leads to a more selfish approach because the preferences are that of one person and it is only natural for someone to think he or she should have his or her way. When two people explore their individual preferences and start to see the reasons, both would develop an understanding which will lead to mutual decisions. Being on the same page is one of the quintessential requisites to avoid being selfish in a relationship.

It’s ‘You’, not ‘I’ | It’s ‘Let’s’, not ‘Want’

Selfish people are always more conscious of what they are getting, doing, giving and if they are happy. This leads to the ‘I want’ syndrome. Instead of wanting something and stating what ‘I’ need, one must start to find out what ‘we need’ or ‘we want’, what’s good for ‘us’ and ‘let’s’ do it instead of ‘I want’ to do it. These little realizations will help a person to focus on their partner. The moment you put yourself second, things will become easy. It is another matter that your partner should also put himself or herself as the second most important person in the relationship. This equation works both ways. Else, it would fail.

Talk, Listen, Understand and Discuss

People cease to be selfish when they truly understand a person. When both people know what they want out of the relationship, when they know each other and can see reason in what one does, why and how, the scenario becomes healthy and pragmatic. Partners should talk, listen to each other, understand the different viewpoints and then discuss the overall situation. This will almost always do away with a selfish approach.

Stop your Attempts to Control

Selfish people are inclined to seek control. They want to be the steering factor and want to have the last word on almost everything. They are self indulgent so they don’t see what the other person might be thinking or deserving in a given scenario. It is all about themselves and hence the need to be in control. One must let go off this urge to control. This is a feeble attempt anyway because most things in life are beyond human control, certainly beyond the control of one individual. When you concede that things will not always happen the way you want, you would start to reconcile with a reality that your selfish interests cannot be met all the time.

Be ‘Deserving’, not ‘Demanding’

An effective way to be unselfish in any given scenario, not just in a relationship, is to think what you deserve and not what you demand. You may want a raise, you may want a promotion, you may want your partner to be a very romantic person or to be caring all the time. Ask yourself if you are equally caring, if you are as romantic as you want your partner to be or if you are ticking all the check boxes that you have laid out to assess your partner. Chances are you don’t tick even half of those checkboxes, yet you expect your partner to outshine your contribution to the relationship. When selfish people undergo self assessment, they realize how unfair and unreasonable they have been. Start focusing on what you deserve, not what you demand. Pay heed to what you do and not what your partner does, what you do for others and not what is done for or to you.

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