Let us look into it.
It all depends on what you are caring about. If we are talking about caring about people, then it is obviously better to care and be selfless in the sense of not hurting others for your own interests and of not neglecting the interests of yourself. If we are talking about caring about the Gospel, then selfishness in salvation requires to care about the salvation of others.
If you are asking about whether it is worse to advance your good at the harm of others, which isn’t really very good for you in the long-term, or to advance the good of others without improving yourself, which is also not good for you in the long-term, then I would answer the latter. Because if others recognize your contributions, however small owing to your lack of self-development, then they will sometimes return to contribute back to you.
But in the end, in must be acknowledged that the best strategy focuses on balancing self-development with the development of friends and the conversion of enemies into friends; which strategy is in a way both selfish and selfless, and also neither of the two, depending on how you interpret them.
Never act contrary to your own best interests.
This does not mean that you should be insensitively selfish and uncaring of other people. Just learn how to tactfully withdraw from the situation when you get the feeling that someone is trying to take advantage of your kindness.
There is nothing wrong with being selfish as long as it doesn’t morph into piggishness and an inability to share things with other people.
Selflessness works if you’re getting paid to do something selfless, or if you’re getting some satisfaction out of it. Giving all you money and food away to charities would be completely selfless, but would not be in your best self-interest, since you would suffer homelessness and starvation.
You’ve got to use your head here.
Neither extreme is a good place to go. You have to find the balance in you between the two. You can be caring and selfless whilst valuing yourself enough not to let people step on you. You can be caring and selfless whilst still seeing worth in yourself and valuing your own person enough not to let anyone take advantage of you. No need to be cold or push away your feelings, this is an idea that will lead you nowhere. If anything, it will lead you to more suffering. Find this stability in yourself between your own needs and the people you wish to care for: if they’re worth your time, they will understand your wish to do things at your own rhythm. If they insist on you doing things that you don’t wish to do, it will mean that they don’t deserve that you dedicate time to them in the first place.
It depends on how aware of it you are.
If you are well aware of it, being selfish is better, you understand how society expects you to behave and will act accordingly in order to get the best of it. You will create the best opportunities to profit and will use all this opportunities in your favor, probably achieving great success with a little help of luck.
If you are unaware, then you will believe the world owe you everything and will be an asshole to everyone, in time they will get tired of you and you will be left to rot alone, you will need a huge amount of luck to succeed alone in the world.
If you are caring and selfless it doesn´t matter if you are aware or not, you will always put the needs of everyone else in front of yours. In this situation you need lots of luck to be recognized and so can achieve success and projection, or else you will just be a poor reliable tool.
Here’s the thing. Selfish, seemingly uncaring people devote themselves to those who matter to them, as form of enlightened self-interest.
Caring, selfless people pour themselves into causes helping those they may never need, and wasting their energy fruitlessly in pursuit of “ideals” that will never come.
Which is the more productive, useful person?
- Not to me. Selfish and uncaring is pretty lonely and a lousy way to be. Also, these type of people invariably have self-esteem issues. But beyond that, it makes me feel good to care about others and to do altruistic things. Those are the kind of things that make you feel good about yourself and others.