If you’re working to be the best self you can be, then you’ve probably got “selfless” on your “to-be” list.
In this article, we’ll explore 14 inspiring personality traits of a selfless person so that you can see which ones you have and which ones you’ve yet to acquire.
By the time we’re done, you’ll have a better understanding of what it means to be a truly selfless person so that you can cultivate a selfless mindset.
Off we go!
1) You’re generous
One of the first things that comes to mind when I think of someone who is selfless is their generosity and altruism.
Now, there are a lot of ways to be generous:
- Sure, you can be generous with your money. You can give money to charities or directly to individuals who are homeless or in need.
- But, you can also be generous with your time. You can do this in several ways – from spending more time with your grandparents to volunteering in a soup kitchen or an old age home.
- You can also help someone with a project (work, school, home), with chores (do the dishes, walk the dog – even if it’s not your turn), with their errands (go to the store or pick up the dry cleaning).
- There’s nothing that gives you more pleasure than doing something nice for someone else.
- You pick gifts carefully and love to watch their faces as they open them – and you definitely enjoy giving gifts more than you do receiving them!
If the points above resemble you, then it sounds to me like you’re a selfless person.
Let’s take a look at the other traits.
2) You have a strong sense of empathy
This means that you can imagine yourself in another person’s shoes to such a degree as to understand their feelings and thoughts, and to see things from their perspective.
In other words, when someone is happy, you feel their joy, and when they’re sad, you feel their suffering.
This brings us to the next point…
3) You’re compassionate
Empathy and compassion often go hand in hand.
Now, because of your ability to identify with another person and understand their struggles, it’s impossible for you to just carry on without being moved and wanting to do something to help them.
Your compassionate nature evokes feelings of sympathy and concern for the suffering and misfortune of others.
So, naturally, you do whatever is in your power to help them.
4) You put your loved ones first
I’m not talking about big gestures like saying “I’d die for my family” – though I’m sure you would. I’m talking about the little, everyday stuff like:
- Letting others choose the restaurant or pick the movie
- Staying home when your partner is feeling down, even if it means not going out with your friends – something you’ve really been looking forward to all week
- Giving the last piece of chocolate cake to someone else
- Driving your loved one so they don’t have to take the bus – even though you’re dead tired
- Grocery shopping for your grandma on your day off. This is totally me, instead of sleeping in or doing something for myself in my free time, I go and help my grandma out
That’s pretty inspiring I’d say.
5) You’re trusting
It may not be quite as obvious as some of the other traits, but selfless people tend to be very trusting.
Well, I’ve given it some thought and I think it comes down to the fact that they’re so generous and kind that it doesn’t even occur to them that someone would want to take advantage of them.
They’re just really eager to help out.
*A word to the wise: If this is you, you need to be careful not to become too trusting and end up getting hurt.
Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t trust people. I’m just saying that you need to be aware of certain situations in which someone may take advantage or harm you in some way.
6) You’re very understanding
Here’s the thing: Because they’re able to empathize with others and always ready to provide assistance, selfless people are very understanding.
They’re patient and they’re willing to hear someone out.
What’s more, they’re open-minded and know that different people have different opinions and points of view. And even when those points of view may clash with their own, they accept and respect them.
And the best part? They never judge other people.
Did you just check off another trait?
7) You compromise
Compromise is not easy for everyone, but it’s definitely one of the ingredients of a successful relationship – whether it be with your romantic partner, family, or co-workers.
Selfish people are terrible at compromising because to them it’s all about what they want and what they need. They don’t normally try to compromise, and even when they do, they end up getting into an argument because they just can’t let go of their selfish desires.
However, a selfless person is really good at compromise.
Think about it: You’re already prepared to put other people’s needs before your own, so meeting another person halfway comes easily to you.
8) You put your needs and ambition to the side
Maybe you want to travel around the world, but someone close to you is sick, so you stay behind to take care of them.
Or maybe you want to build your career and really make something of yourself, but so does your partner. The problem is, one of you has to stay home with the baby.
Being the selfless person that you are, you decide to put aside your plans of making it big and stay home with the baby.
9) You’re flexible with plans
The truth is that nothing is set in stone and things change, plans fall through, and that’s ok.
You’re selfless and that means you’re flexible and you’re happy to accommodate others. You understand that sometimes people can’t make it, they forget, or they’re late.
Selfish people on the other hand only think about how a change in plans would affect them and they’re generally neither flexible nor accommodating.
10) You expect nothing in return
Many people help others because they’re hoping for a quid pro quo – or something for something. For example, they’ll do a favor for someone at work and expect one in return.
But not you.
When you do something for someone, you do it because it makes you happy to help, that’s all.
And that’s not all!
Some people give to others because they’re hoping to get something in return. They also make sure to never get someone something more expensive than they got from them – it’s true, they really keep track!
But when you give – you expect nothing in return.
It’s simple – you like to give things to people (no matter their worth) because you’re hoping that it will make them happy.
Those are definitely the inspiring personality traits of a selfless person.
11) You don’t hold grudges
Ok, so you get angry from time to time but you don’t hold on to grudges for long – especially when you see that the other person is sorry.
You certainly don’t hold a grudge in order to punish the other person because you know that they already feel bad and being upset with them will only end up hurting them, and that’s not at all what you’re about.
What’s more, you know that holding grudges means harboring negative emotions and that nobody benefits from that.
In short: If you’re a selfless person, you’re quick to forgive and forget
12) You think about how your actions affect others
The thing about selfish people is that they’re driven by their own needs and desires. And that means if they want something – they go for it.
The problem is that they don’t stop to consider if and how their actions may affect other people.
Think about all those charming politicians out there!
But selfless people are different.
They think before they speak. They look at the big picture and if what they’re planning to do can negatively impact other people or even the environment, then they alter their plans or move on to something else.
The bottom line is that they’d never intentionally do something to hurt someone and do what they can to avoid it.
13) You’re humble
But hey, there’s more!
If you’re selfless and successful, you don’t go around bragging about your achievements.
You’re unassuming and choose to stay in the background. You prefer to let others take the spotlight.
And the best part? You do what you do because you want to make other people’s lives better, not because you’re looking for recognition or praise.
Selfless people want to make the world a better place, and they do so with humility and grace, asking for nothing in return.
How amazing would our planet be if more people – especially those in power – were selfless?
14) You don’t like to talk about your problems
Look, we all have problems – you know that.
On the one hand, a selfish and self-involved person – and I know quite a few – will go on and on about their problems without ever stopping to ask how the other person is going. With some people, it’s like that every single time!
On the other hand, a selfless person doesn’t talk about their problems because they’re more interested in finding out what’s happening in the other person’s life and trying to help them find a solution.
And there you have it – 14 inspiring personality traits that show you’re a selfless person.
It’s ok if you don’t have all these traits, what’s important is that you’re working on yourself and that means that you’ll get there eventually.