Restraining Selfishness Augments Mutual Love
Doing certain things is indispensable for augmenting mutual love. One has to connive at minor matters and to be accommodating to one another's idiosyncracies; this will eliminate the possibility of mutual dislike or animosity. Next, there should be overruling regard for someone venerable to all, whereby one overlooks minor irritation by others. Thirdly, suggestions should not be direct and personal, nor offensive in content or manner, and should be couched in sweet and winning language. Fourthly, and this is of paramount importance and partly includes all the foregoing, selfishness should be absolutely subordinated, eliminated. In other words, one should feel that one lives more for others than for one's own self. To conduct oneself on these lines makes a substantial contribution to increasing mutual love. One who lives thus, with an unselfish heart, may never feel want in his life, because God is bound to make up genuine needs and deficiencies where selflessness motivates a person.
Talking of selfishness, most people will refuse to concede that they are selfish at all; they will plead, also, the exigencies of practical life. But this does not prove the point. Selfishness, like self-pride, is subtle and compelling. Its ramifications are deep and imperceptible.
Selfishness may pertain to three different fields - the body, speech, and the mind. To behave with care to see that the body does not have to exert or suffer for others, is one kind. To expect others to agree to what I say, or not to take offence whatever I say, is another kind. To expect everyone never to dispute what I say, and to accept my view as the correct one, is the third kind of selfishness.
Now, if we base our thought on the concept that I am even more for others than for myself, we shall have to concede that we should accept the policy 'do as you would be done by', and should allow more latitude to others than to ourselves. This, indeed, is the essence of good behaviour, the essence of true duty. We cannot have or expect love from the world unless we give ours to it whole-heartedly. Only he can be said to live for God who lives for others. One who bestows his love on others freely, selflessly, earns true bliss, lasting and unalloyed.
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