WOMEN in RECOVERY – Easy to be Selfless if there’s something ‘in it’ for YOU!




It does not take much to realize that putting other people’s interests, needs or wishes first is greatly appreciated in many different places and cultures.

The main benefit of being selfless is knowing that you are making other people happy.
Read on to learn more about being a selfless person.


1]  Determine how close or far away you are from what you consider being “selfless”.  Once you get an idea on how much you need to improve, the following steps will be much easier. If you are not sure if you’re pretty close to selfless, or worlds away, there is a simple way to find out. When the opportunity comes to be selfless, write how you responded on a piece of paper. Make sure that you react how you normally would, because if you don’t, that solution is pointless.

2]  It’s time to begin. First things first, we should go into the definition of what selfless really means. Being selfless is simply just putting others before yourself, right? Nope! When you’re selfless you’re not only living by that definition, you have to be willing to do this. The want to do this also helps as well.

3]  Do more for others, but still take care of yourself. If you do more things for others, that’s great. If you think you are selfless, that’s wonderful. How many people do you know who are selfless, yet still care for themselves? You are just as important as anyone else is. So, now we should go into how you can be selfless but still care about yourself. So far, we have already clarified that when you do things for others, you put yourself out of the way for them. When you do these things, afterward you need to somehow continue doing what you set out to do.

4]  Do things for a good cause. This means a couple of different things. When you do things, make sure it is for a good purpose. You should already know not to help anybody – no matter how close, do something that will harm another person. This can also mean to participate in events that help others. When you do this, sure there may be some kind of ulterior motive that will somehow benefit you, but it is better if their isn’t, because that is not really what you are trying to achieve. Remember, happiness is priceless, though.

5]  Give to everyone…even those who are ungrateful. Giving is a lot more difficult than it sounds. For others, it is really simple. Whether giving is something that you need to work on, or comes naturally, it may seem hard to give to people who do not appreciate what you do. That may even be irritating. Sometimes, the good that you send out is and the feeling you will get is a good enough praise. Giving really builds up your image of being selfless and your personal belief that you are selfless. Always remember, no good deed goes unnoticed.


The Buddha taught that to realize enlightenment, a person must develop two qualities: wisdom and compassion. Wisdom and compassion are sometimes compared to two wings that work together to enable flying, or two eyes that work together to see deeply.

In the West, we’re taught to think of “wisdom” as something that is primarily intellectual and “compassion” as something that is primarily emotional, and that these two things are separate and even incompatible. We’re led to believe that fuzzy, sappy emotion gets in the way of clear, logical wisdom.

But this is not a Buddhist understanding.

The Sanskrit word usually translated as “wisdom” is prajna (in Pali, panna). I understand this word could also be translated as “consciousness,” “discernment,” or “insight.” The many schools of Buddhism understand prajna somewhat differently, but generally we could say that prajna is understanding or discernment of the Buddha’s teaching, especially the teaching of anatta, no self.

The word usually translated as “compassion” is karuna, which is understood to mean active sympathy or a willingness to bear the pain of others. In practice, prajna gives rise to karuna, and karuna gives rise to prajna. Truly, you can’t have one without the other. They are a means to realizing enlightenment, and they are also enlighenment manifested.

In The Essence of the Heart Sutra, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote,

“According to Buddhism, compassion is an aspiration, a state of mind, wanting others to be free from suffering. It’s not passive — it’s not empathy alone — but rather an empathetic altruism that actively strives to free others from suffering. Genuine compassion must have both wisdom and lovingkindness. That is to say, one must understand the nature of the suffering from which we wish to free others (this is wisdom), and one must experience deep intimacy and empathy with other sentient beings (this is lovingkindness).”

I was in Norfolk!

EXAMPLE: A couple of weeks ago I found out that a lovely young lady I know was in a hospice to get some specialist pain management. Her partner posted on facebook asking if any of us friends could help out with something for the hospice.

As someone who has a chronic illness I’m not sure I’d want to volunteer in a hospice, but I realised that was being asked was actually a way to really help, but by doing something in our homes for the people at the hospice.
It got me wondering, how can we all donate/help out to places like hospices which are mainly charity funded?

What we were asked was if any of us had a sewing machine and could make some fabric bags for the people in the hospice to carry their syringe drivers in. The hospice had just had new ones and they were a different size than previous ones.

Syringe drivers are used when you need continuos medication through a vein or port, and having the freedom to move. Getting around if you can is so vital not only to physical health but also mental health – who doesn’t want to go for a walk or stroll round the garden?

So for me this was a no brainer, we were in our holiday cottage in Norfolk, but as luck (or was it destined to be?) we had taken the sewing machine to do some extras for our cottage. Oh, I need some fabric….. If we were at home I have lots of off-cuts in the loft from my career as an interior designer, but I was in Norfolk!

I decided to ask the local design shop in Cromer if they would donate some off cuts to a good cause. The Norfolk House Company were more than happy to help out and I got some super fabrics to make six bags for The Prospect Hospice in Swindon.

When I’d finished them and posted them off I felt happy that I could help and happy to “give” three hours of my time to make the lives of others easier with such a simple thing.

So, how could you help and do something selfless? Looking at hospice websites they are looking for volunteers to do all sorts of things – manicures to gardening, painting to making teas, and of course sewing!

The friend’s follow up post on Facebook was:
“The warmth and generosity of some of my friends still amazes me. Why not follow their example, and do something utterly selfless today and do something kind or generous for someone else today. There really are people out there that are worse off than you.”

Therefore, at the end of the day, ‘Who is the Winner?’, the one person in any selfless act that realizes that ‘good feeling of peace, a knowing that the right action was taken.’


… YOU, of course!


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