The Art of Selflessness: How to Make A Difference In The World

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Don't take give, is an art of selflessness
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How do you inculcate the art of selflessness in your life’s journey here on earth? Someone once said that service is the rent we pay for living. To live a life of selflessness or service is the most guaranteed way to find inner peace and happiness. Giving yourself to the world in some worthy course, would help increase the critical mass of kindness which is so much in need in the world today. The easiest way to do this is to make a vow and commitment to do selfless deeds in your own little corner of the world. If you can do this and each person does the same, we will all have a world free from hate, hunger, terrorism, kidnapping and armed robbery.

What is Selflessness?

Woman helping a boy up is an art of selflessness
Image Credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Selflessness is the art of transcending one’s own needs and desires, embracing a mindset where the well-being and happiness of others becomes the front burner.

The Oxford dictionary defines it as the quality of caring more about what people need and want than about what you yourself need and want.

 It involves acts of genuine kindness, empathy, and sacrifice, driven by a compassionate and loving heart. Selflessness doesn’t negate self-care, but rather balances it with a profound awareness of the interconnectedness of humanity. In practicing selflessness, we find fulfillment by uplifting others, by bringing sunshine into their world.

In a world characterized by individual success and personal gain, selflessness stands as a powerful virtue. It encourages us to break free from the constraints of self-centeredness and cultivate empathy, compassion, and generosity. It is not a mere denial of our own needs, but a harmonious integration of caring for ourselves while actively contributing to the greater good.

Read: What to do when you are not content with your life?

Selflessness finds expression in both small, everyday acts. From offering a helping hand to a neighbor in need to engaging in philanthropic endeavors that uplift entire communities.

The art of selflessness requires us to transcend the boundaries of our comfort zones and confront our inherent desires for recognition and reward. It demands a shift in perspective, where the joy of giving and the contentment derived from it  takes precedence over personal gain. The ability to do selfless deeds isn’t easy; it comes with the commitment to do good to your fellow man and to make the world a better place. By practicing selflessness, we tap into the abundance of the universe which makes our lives sublime. 

Doing this makes you a catalyst for positive change, and can inspire the change we need in the world.  Selflessness has the potential to heal the world from the pain, wickedness and the vices that bedeviled humanity and create a more compassionate and harmonious society.

In this blog post we are going to look at the following subheadings:

Selfless giving is the art of living

Is selflessness a virtue?

How to develop selflessness

Benefits of selflessness

And the art of selflessness quotes.

Read: Dare to be Different Examples 

Selfless Giving is The Art of Living

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Selfless giving is the art of giving off of yourself without expecting a reward. What do you give? You can give your time in the form of service like volunteering or you can give your money to help a course. If you look at it critically, you will see that this is the best way to live life. That is, if you understand the nature of creation. Have you ever paused and taken a break from your busy schedule to contemplate what the end of your life would be like? If you have, the realization that the only thing you can take out of this world at death is a rich or poor state of consciousness. You leave with nothing, therefore, how do you build a rich consciousness? I guess it is by giving service to life and to God. They are more to this, but the starting point is to cultivate the art of selflessness. When you arrive at this awareness you will understand why selfless giving is the art of living. However, selfless giving does not mean you neglect your responsibilities to your family and you take all your money and donate it to a church or project. What it means is you improve your self development and earning potential so that your capacity to give and render service is enhanced. It also does not mean you abandon your life and your wife and children and move to a Ashram to live as a monk. Although, you can do this if you have an inner calling to do this.

Read: What Are Some Examples Of Spiritual Growth?

 Is Selflessness A Virtue?

Yes, selflessness is a worthy virtue to build into your value system as a person. If you have built the virtues of forgiveness, contentment, humility, a high sense of discretion and detachment from the burdens of life, then adding selflessness to it would make you an even better person. A virtue means a behavior showing high moral standards. Look at your life and see what is lacking and stopping you from living the life of your dreams. One by one make plans to acquire and inculcate the necessary virtues as you see yourself soar higher like an eagle.

Read: Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining Real Life Examples

How To Develop Selflessness

Developing selflessness is not rocket science and anyone who is serious about this can be one.

We are now going to look at several ways to develop this all important virtue.

Practicing Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of others and doing everything within your powers to make life easier for them without being judgemental or seeing them as lesser beings. When you empathize with someone you are simply saying to them that you understand their plight and you are willing to share in their pain. Practicing Empathy is a form of giving service to the people you meet daily.

Volunteer and Help Others: Volunteering is one way you can develop the ability to give to life. When you volunteer you are putting the welfare of others above yours by doing everything to bring succor to the other party. The more you volunteer in a worthy course, the more you want to serve life as the well of kindness in you increases.

Image Credit: Adria Crehuet on Unsplash

Practice Gratitude: Most selfless people are people who are grateful for the many gifts of God in their lives. A grateful person naturally wants to extend this art of love and thanksgiving to all they meet. Practicing gratitude is a good place to start the art of selfless service. Everyday, as you go through your day remember to say thank you for every deed of kindness received. And remember to count your blessings. Doing this opens your heart to love and abundance. Giving this love to others comes naturally as appreciation to the gift of God.

Practicing Forgiveness: A person with an unforgiving heart has nothing to give. This is because they are always bitter, sad and angry with themselves and the people around them. They have an entitled mentality and believe things should always go their way. Forgiveness is a very important virtue for those who want to serve others. Being forgiving is one way to develop selflessness.

Developing Active Listening Skill: The art of listening is a great skill possessed by great people. If you can keep quiet and listen while others talk, resisting the urge to impose your opinion on them, you have mastered the key to selflessness. In a world where everyone wants to be heard, listening is a very difficult skill to master. However, you can develop this skill like every other skill in life.

Celebrate Others’ Success: Do you celebrate with others on their achievements or do you get jealous and wish it was you who had the success? When you are genuinely happy for the good fortune of others, you pave a way for success to find you. The good old law of attraction said like attracts like. When you want success for others you also attract it to yourself. Another angle to this means celebrating others is a selfless act, which means you are willing to put others before yourself. Therefore, it is one of the starting points to learn how to develop selfless giving.

Lead By Example: The scripture says the greatest amongst you shall be the servant. Christ himself demonstrated this when he stoops to wash the feets of his disciples. So wherever you find yourself, show others what it means to be a leader by stooping low to serve them. This means you have to ditch the ego, greed and hatred to be able to lead by example. Like Christ, make humility your watchword, then serving others will become your reality.

Read: 4 Amazing Real Life Examples Of Surrendering to God

Practice Meditation: Meditation is one of the ways to develop selflessness. When you do meditation regularly, it connects you with your higher self and opens you to divine guidance from the Holy Spirit. Meditation can help you to practice mindfulness, the art of living in the present and embracing the gift and beauty of the power of now. Another benefit of meditating is that it can raise your awareness of the inner worlds and the knowledge of life after death. With this knowledge comes the joy of living a life of selflessness.

Harness Your Talent: Harnessing your talent and using it to its full capacity is another form of giving service to life and God. Examples of this are reflected in the lives of many great musicians like Mozart, Beethoven and Handel who used their composition and performance to lift humanity. In a similar vein, we also have master painters as well as book authors like Picasso and Shakespeare respectively. So, harness your talents and when you do, use it in a way to help humanity.

Practice Patience: The importance of patience can not be over emphasized. The quality of patience is very important if you want to serve life. This is because often things would not go your way and you may need to leave your comfort zone to bring succor to others. Anyone who has ever achieved something noteworthy in life will tell you the many hours of toil and pain they went through before success is unearthed for them. Again, to learn and practice patience starts from having a laser focus on your goal as you put the bulk of your attention in the moment. 

Read: Struggling To Find True Joy In Life: These 8 Steps Will Help

Benefits Of Selflessness

The benefits of selflessness are enormous. And in this section we are going to glean some of them.

Read: Does Power Of Visualization Work?

Help Reduce Stress: One of the benefits of service is that it reduces tension and subsequently reduces your stress level. Giving service helps you remove attention from yourself and your problems. And when your focus is shifted to helping others you immediately become relaxed. With this you become stress free. This can increase your immunity to diseases, making you less vulnerable to ill health.

Improved Relationship With Others: When you are genuinely giving off of yourself to the service of life, you create harmony with life and the people you meet. With this comes a better relationship with other people in the workplace and the society you live in.

Spiritual Development: A benefit of selflessness is spiritual growth. One of the signs of a person growing spiritually is the ability to give selflessly. So, if you want to grow spiritually learn to serve life.

Living Your Legacy in The Sands of Time: Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Francis Assisi to mention but a few, are being remembered and talked about today because of the life they lead, centuries and thousands of years ago. They left their legacies and footprint in the sands of time because of the art of selflessness. If you serve life and give to your fellow man, history will remember you long after you have departed from this world. 

Image Credit: Eric McLean on Unsplash

Read: 5 Reasons to Keep Going when Times are Hard

 Embracing Minimalism and  Simple Living: When your attention is centered or focused on the next person or how to make the society better, the least thing you want is amassing wealth and buying things just for the pleasure of it. This has forced many to embrace minimalist living while donating for a good course. Simple living ensures you embrace living with less while buying experiences rather than acquiring things you don’t need. The culture of buying state of the art automobiles, trinkets and jewelry, just to prove they are rich is leaving many people unhappy and dissatisfied as well as unfulfilled. The opposite where people live simply by traveling to see different cultures and volunteering their time and money is found to bring fulfillment, peace and happiness.

Personal Growth and Fulfillment: Selflessness can enhance a person’s personal growth and fulfillment. This is because like the saying goes, you can not give what you don’t have. To make any meaningful impact in life you must have something to give to others like your talent. Developing yourself increases your capacity to give, and when this is achieved your sense of fulfillment soars. To this end you must be capable of taking care of yourself before attempting to take care of others. Personal development helps you hone your skills and improve your ability to earn a decent living for yourself. In this position giving to others becomes easier without necessarily putting a burden on you.

Read: How To Build The Future You Want

Communal and Possibility of World Peace: The peace you enjoy in your community is made possible because people made sacrifices in the past and present. Imagine what peace and progress we would experience if you and I decided to make selfless sacrifice to enthrone peace in the world. Peace begins in the heart of each individual, from there it can spread out to the world outside of us. Living and embracing the art of selflessness is one way to start bringing peace in your heart.

Read: How to stop being frustrated with yourself

Selflessness Quotes 

I will now look at some quotes about selflessness. These quotes I hope would help you master the skills of selfless living. Take them seriously and read them regularly to remind yourself of this virtue.


  • “Selflessness is the art of forgetting yourself in the service of others.” – Unknown
  • “The art of life is the art of giving.” – Rabindranath Tagore
  • “The highest form of selflessness is to forget oneself completely in the service of others.” – Swami Vivekananda
  • “The true art of living lies in the elimination of selfish desires.” – Leo Tolstoy
  • “The greatest gift you can give to others is the gift of your own selflessness.” – Wayne Dyer
  • “Selflessness is the key to true happiness.” – Dalai Lama
  • “The more selfless we become, the more joy we experience.” – Marianne Williamson
  • “Selflessness is not about giving up who you are, but about finding your true self in the service of others.” – Deepak Chopra
  • “The greatest happiness you can have is to know that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life.” – Nelson Mandela
  • “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Selflessness is the essence of true greatness.” – Charles Dickens
  • “The measure of a man’s character is how he treats someone who can do him no good.” – Aristotle
  • “The world is a better place when we help others. It’s as simple as that.” – Ron Kaufman
  • “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” – James Keller
  • “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention.” – Kahlil Gibran
  • “The more you give, the more you receive.” – The Law of Karma
  • “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller
  • “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs
  • “The art of selflessness is the art of living in the present moment, without attachment to the past or the future.” – Eckhart Tolle
  • “The more we give, the more we receive. This is the law of karma.” – Buddha
  • “Desire is the root of selfishness; clear your heart of desire and be selfless. Selflessness is the key to inner peace”. – Christofer Drew
  • “With faith, discipline and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve”. – Muhammad Ali Jinnah
  • “Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment”. – Tony Robbins
  • “I’ve learned that selflessness is a practice, not a place; a journey much more than a destination”. – Kayla Mueller
  • “For your kindness, I’m in debt to you. For your selflessness, my admiration”. – Natalie Merchant
  • “If selfishness is the key to being miserable, then selflessness must be the key to being happy!” – Joyce Meyer
  • “Selflessness. It should be the basis of every relationship. If a person truly cares about you, they’ll get more pleasure from the way they make you feel, rather than the way you make them feel.” ―Colleen Hoover
  • “Then give to the world the best you have. And the best will come back to you.” ―Madeline Bridges
  • “It’s when you’re acting selflessly that you are at your bravest.” ―Veronica Roth
  • “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” ―James Keller
  • “Selfless acts are a source of profound meaning for yourself and your life.” ―Ron Kaufman
  • “Selfless acts are a source of profound meaning for yourself and your life.” – Ron Kaufman.
  • “As long as you are living only for yourself, you are not living at all.” – Nitin Namdeo
  • “The meaning of love is obviously huge – but for me, it means be nice to people, and people will be nice to you back. Love is a selfless place to be. There is no safer place to be than under the canopy of love.”–Benjamin Clementine
  • “Day after day, ordinary people become heroes through extraordinary and selfless actions.” Sylvia Mathews Burwell
  • “My mother taught me to be honest, to be selfless, and to touch people in a positive way.” –Scott Eastwood
  • “We are capable of doing wonderful and selfless things.” – Adam Hamilton
  • “Spirituality does two things for you. One, you are forced to become more selfless, two, you trust in providence.” Imran Khan
  •  “Selfless giving does not imply superiority. Selfless giving is about love.” Frederick Lenz
  • “Selflessness. It should be the basis of every relationship. If a person truly cares about you, they’ll get more pleasure from the way they make you feel, rather than the way you make them feel.” ―Colleen Hoover
  • “Then give to the world the best you have. And the best will come back to you.” ―Madeline Bridges
  • “It’s when you’re acting selflessly that you are at your bravest.” ―Veronica Roth
  • “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” ―James Keller
  • “Selfless acts are a source of profound meaning for yourself and your life.” ―Ron Kaufman
  • “Being selfless is a precondition for moral action – without selflessness man can neither love nor be just” –Udo Schaefer
  • “And there is no better or cleaner passport to status in society than honesty and selfless service of fellow-beings”. –C. Beohar,
  • ” Serving others is empathy and excellence put into acts and action” –Bob Wilson,
  • “Since it is difficult to love others unless one first finds value in one’s own self, such a selfless person is also likely to be indifferent to others” –Sean Creaven,
  • “A selfless person is a very happy one, and this happiness could not be explained, but could be experienced through practice”. –Bshara Salem
  • “Reward is promised to those who act selflessly and not for the sake of reward.” –Hans Heinz
  • “The key to self-realization is selfless giving. No one has ever achieved enlightenment without selfless giving” –Liz Lewinson,
  • “Selflessness is the key to the universe. It is the key to explore undiscovered human potential” –Dr. Pak-Kei Kan,
  • “Friendships are supposed to be selfless. True friends give time, resources, and energy to preserve the relationship” –Jim Williamson,
  • “There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others” –Mandy Hale
  • “A hero is somebody who is selfless. Who is generous in spirit. Who just tries to give back as much as possible and help people. A hero to me is someone who saves people and who really deeply cares” –Debi Mazar
  • “Reward is promised to those who act selflessly and not for the sake of reward” –Hans Heinz
  • “The need now is for selflessness, for a spirit of sacrifice, for a willingness to put aside personal gains for the salvation of the whole Western world.–Sayings
  • “When no one is selfless in a relationship, there is war. When one is selfless, there is peace. When both are selfless, there is joy.”- Royce White.
  • “True love blooms when we care more about another person than we care about ourselves.”– Jeffrey R. Holland
  • “There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others” –Mandy Hale
  • “A hero is somebody who is selfless. Who is generous in spirit. Who just tries to give back as much as possible and help people. A hero to me is someone who saves people and who really deeply cares. –Debi Mazar
  • “For your kindness, I’m in debt to you. For your selflessness, my admiration.” – Natalie Merchant
  • “To be a teacher you have to have a very giving, selfless personality. I don’t think I’m that selfless and giving.”- Chris Parnell.
  •  “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”– Charles Dickens.
  • “Help others without any reason and give without the expectation of receiving anything in return.”– Roy T. Bennett.
  • “I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that I can do.”– Jana Stanfield
  • “The true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own.”–Simon Sinek
  • “Anybody who’s had children knows this feeling of deep love. It’s a selfless love, an unconditional love. And it makes you kind of examine everything that has happened.”- Jennifer Lopez
  • “Selflessness. It should be the basis of every relationship. If a person truly cares about you, they’ll get more pleasure from the way they make you feel, rather than the way you make them feel.” ― Colleen Hoover, Confess
  • “I want to do to you what spring does with the cherry trees.” ― Pablo Neruda
  • “Then give to the world the best you have. And the best will come back to you.” ― Madeline Bridges
  • “Learn to love without condition. Talk without bad intentions. Give without any reason. And most of all, care for people without any exception.” ― Anonymous
  • “The key to a self-fulfilled life lies in consistent selfless deeds.” ― Edmond Mbiaka
  • “When we engage in the service of our fellowmen, not only do our deeds assist them but we put our own problems in a fresher perspective. When we concern ourselves more with others, there is less time to be concerned with ourselves” –Spencer W. Kimball
  • “The selfless giving, the service, the kindness which you give out into this world that is the currency of (the) meaning (of life)” –Ajahn Brahm


I hope by reading this article you have expanded your knowledge and see the need to make a commitment to live a life of service. As you can see, the benefits of living this way far outweigh the disadvantages of  living a selfish life.

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