Civility and manners,  Friendship and relationship advice

Selfish motives

“Almost every offensive action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive. It is a trait we hate in other people but justify in ourselves.” ~Stephen Kendrick 

Sometimes I catch myself doing things that would annoy me if someone else did the same. Talking too much and forgetting to return borrowed books are just a couple of quick examples. I’m sure my family and close friends would offer a much longer list of aggravating things I do. Just ask.

So, today’s quote got me thinking about why we’re slow to recognize our own bad behavior — but quick to notice offending behavior in others. Selfish motives keep us petty and small.

On a larger, universal scale, this might explain why some ethnic and religious groups are intolerant of outsiders or others who are different. “Selfish motives” spark conflict and start wars. Everybody believes that their way or their belief is the right way. Everyone is an authority. I wonder if most social clashes, large and small, stem from putting our own needs first, without fully considering the needs or feelings of others. ~CL

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Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.

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