Selflessness should be the next wave of academic ideology. That’s because present-day ideology emphasizes self-interest too much. I’m speaking from my experiences with feminist ideology and the psychology curriculum. These ideologies and the Western model seem fixated on meeting the needs of the self before meeting those of others. And I believe that makes life Hobbesian: brutal, nasty, and short. But selflessness is a higher virtue that speaks to my soul. And I feel happiest when I’m serving others. So, with that said, here are some ways I believe we can be of service to others:
Let people be their magnificent, perfect selves without us constraining their expression. Let others do what they need to do while we support them with the gift of love. Everyone is on an independent journey, which we must respect, regardless of the journey’s lows and highs. And I’ve discovered that other people’s flaws are more valuable than their strengths in providing opportunities for us to love unconditionally.
Don’t ever take offense to another person’s actions, as it’s our karma, or our “doing,” that resulted in the adversity we may experience. Adversity is another opportunity to rise into a state of unconditional love. We should welcome the offenses of others as karmic reminders that we need to become better people. And becoming better people means receiving negativity with unconditional love. As the stoics say, we can’t reach the peaks of heaven without having experienced the depths of hell.
Support others with our resources, prioritizing their needs over our own. The West has this notion that we can only help others if we help ourselves first. But, as stated earlier, I believe this is a selfish perspective. It’s more spiritual to learn the trait of selflessness. Just ask almost any monk or spiritual leader: others come first. And providing financial help, food, housing, and gifts for others is a higher purpose we all can enjoy.
Love others, even the perpetrator who does the most heinous deed. That’s because the more we love, the more we bring light to an otherwise dark world. Love is the entire reason we exist. And I’ve realized that all wounds heal when we choose love. That’s because loving others brings new virtues, a heightened spiritual awareness, and a profound sense of peace.
Love everyone. Seek to love every single soul, no exceptions. Love the people who love us. Love the people who persecute us. Love the people we’ve never met. Love the insects, the apples, the trees, the birds, and every person. Everyone is worthy of love. That’s because every soul is a spark from the divine. In other words, we are all waves united by the same ocean.
Nurture others’ minds. Buy others anything educational: books and courses. Take them to museums and libraries or treat them to lessons if they are keen. And if we’re ambitious (and selfless), help them pay for an educational degree of their choice. When it comes to nurturing another being’s mind, I will go deep in debt, for knowledge’s value is beyond anything material.
Help others get fit. Discover the physical activities others may like and explore them together. Treat them to sporting equipment, too. Buy them books on sporting rules for sports they may wish to try. Take them hiking, swimming, snowboarding, running, or anything physical. And if they’re keen, buy them a recreation center membership.
I think it’s important to ask ourselves, “How can I serve others today?” But it’s essential to ensure our gifts are healthy and bring joy. For example, recently, a homeless fellow was sitting against a building, a white sheet covering his head. So, I bought him a big bag of chips and placed it at his side. But if I ever have a life review where I experience my actions from his perspective, I’ll feel the joy he experienced while he ate the chips, followed by the drain on his energy after digesting the unhealthy treat. So, when we give gifts, remember that we may have a life review where we experience all the emotions and sensations of the person who received the gift. So, ensure the gift is one that will bring the greatest long-term joy to the recipient.