Photo by Anna Tarazevich

Altruism – the selfless concern for the well-being of others is an admirable trait to have. However, it’s also a challenging one to have.

To practice altruism, you need to accept the fact that people in this world are focused on themselves. Moreover, practicing altruism and making it a daily habit takes consistent effort. But despite the difficulty, the benefits of doing so can be hugely rewarding, both for ourselves and those around us.

While it takes so much effort to be truly selfless, there is a practical guide to altruism and making a difference. Author Susan Aurelia Gitelson believes in the power of giving to whoever needs one’s help, regardless of social standing in life. So, if you’re looking for a book that teaches selflessness, you’re more than welcome to start the journey today.

So what does it truly take to practice altruism on a daily basis?

Altruism begins with an awareness of the needs of others. Furthermore, there’s also the capacity to empathize with their experiences instead of looking from the outside in. When we’re attuned to the people and situations around us, we can make time to be kind each day. For starters, we can ask ourselves the following questions:

  • What are their struggles?
  • What brings them joy or pain?

Having this kind of sensitivity is the first step in practicing altruism regularly. However, we must also look within ourselves to see whether we are approaching this with a genuine heart. After all, altruism involves kindness that can easily be twisted or misconstrued. We must be careful not to fall into the temptation of doing it for self-gain. Because the practice of altruism can fall into that category. This is why we need to tell the difference and be vigilant when it happens to us.

Altruism vs Egoism: How Different Are They?

At first glance, altruism and egoism appear to be polar opposites. One is focused on selflessly helping others, while the other is selfishly focused on one’s own interests. However, a deeper examination reveals that the two philosophies are not as distinct as they may seem. In fact, the line between altruism and egoism is often blurred. Because of that blur, there’s a significant overlap between the two.

Altruism comes from a genuine concern for the well-being of others. It also desires to relieve them of their suffering and enhance their quality of life. People who practice altruism are contented with being able to help without personal gain. Moreover, they believe in their positive impact on people’s lives.

On the other hand, egoists are mostly driven by self-interest. They make decisions and take action based on how they will benefit from doing anything for others. They have shady intentions, whether through material gain, social status, pleasure, or other personal reward. Egoists may help others as a front but only serve themselves in the end.

Which of The Following Examples Best Represents Altruism?

Picture this scenario: firefighters are willing to sacrifice themselves while exposed to great danger. All this is for the sake of rescuing a complete stranger. Obviously, there wouldn’t be any personal rewards or self-serving motives at play. The firefighter’s only focus is to save another life without consideration for their own. This level of selflessness, where one is willing to jeopardize one’s own life for the sake of another, represents the truest form of altruism.

Whereas the self-serving act of egoism and narcissism hides away self-interest or personal benefit. For instance, a millionaire’s charitable donations may come with tax advantages or reputational rewards. The college student’s volunteering could enhance their resume and foster personal growth. Even the parent working extra shifts to send their child to university is ultimately investing in their future, which also has implications for the parent.

Why Altruism Is Not Just for The Rich

To practice altruism, you may need to do more. However, it can be argued that it’s more meaningful if done by those without great wealth or privilege. Here’s why:

For the wealthy, donating a portion of their income or assets to charity may not necessarily come at a significant personal cost. However, for those of more modest means, even small acts of altruism can represent a real sacrifice and deprivation of their basic needs, making their generosity all the more remarkable.

Among other examples, altruism is simply a means to help, even for a bit. That one small extended hand maybe someone else’s lifeline. We must see it as a noble act. No matter how small, it can still change another person’s life. Let’s start being kind to the world and practice altruism like we should.

But wait! There’s a book that can get you started in the right direction of practicing altruism every day. Giving Is Not Just for The Very Rich: A How-to Guide for Giving and Philanthropy by Susan Aurelia Gitelson is the one for you. Grab a copy today and learn the extraordinary act of selflessness.

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