This post was written by Creative QT Owner & Founder Adam Hinkle. Learn more about the Hinkle family and the heart behind Creative QT here.
I truly do believe that a life well lived is a journey toward selflessness. Please let me explain. When you are an infant it truly is all about you! When you are hungry, thirsty, tired, bored, etc. you expect people to come running. But as you age, you begin to play with others and have to take their feelings into account. Later, you get married and it’s no longer just you, there’s two to consider. When you have kids, the considerations expand. The natural progression of a person is that as we grow, we accept that life is less and less about us.
One of the big obstacles to growing in selflessness is growing beyond our natural sense of entitlement. Our inner child often discourages our ability to recognize that life isn’t all about ourselves. Below are a few tips from Psychology Today that can help us (and our children!) overcome our natural sense of entitlement.
Practice Taking Perspective
Empathy is an incredible tool for thinking broader than yourself. When we find our children (or ourselves for that matter) annoyed by someone else, take a few moments and talk about the situation from the other person’s perspective. How did they feel about it? How would we have acted and felt if we were in their position?
Looking at things from other’s perspective is an opportunity to practice getting outside our heads and expanding the world we live in. The world gets pretty small when we are stuck in our own mind the whole time.
Practice Promoting Other’s Success
People (children and adults alike) often struggle if they feel like someone else is winning while they are not. One solution to this is to build the habit of finding opportunities to help others succeed and celebrate others when they do succeed. This will make it less of an ‘us vs. them’ attitude and more of an attitude of collaboration and community.
Observe What Happens When You Avoid Entitlement Mindsets
Do your relationships run smoother? Do people enjoy being around you more? Are you less annoyed by others? There are so many benefits to avoiding entitlement and making life less about you. It’s completely counterintuitive but if you make life less about you, you will statistically have a higher chance of living a happier life.
Don’t Make Life All About Your Kids
This one wasn’t in the article, but I feel strongly needs to be included to the list. As much as we need to not make life about ourselves, we, as parents, need to be careful not to make life all about our kids either. This is an easy trap for parents to fall into since we want the best for our kids and we sincerely want them to live up to their potential. The danger is that we run the risk of enabling their natural entitlement mindset as well as potentially hindering their progression toward selflessness.
The best solution for this may be to practice the habits like the ones above to help them get a sense of perspective and to grow the muscle of considering others. Practicing these tools of selflessness lends itself to extraordinary learning time together and you may be surprised how much you learn while teaching them as well. If you or your children truly struggle with entitlement don’t be discouraged, it’s natural. We all want (and need) to look out for ourselves. The danger comes when this mentality hinders our growth as a person living in community.
Taking steps to lead a life of selflessness is NOT easy! We've found these tools to be helpful, not only for our own personal growth, but also as we raise our five kids. I would love to hear your ideas on how to build selflessness and exercises that can help us to break our entitlement mindsets. Please comment with your ideas!
Creative QT designs quality + innovative toys that declutter homes and inspire creative play. Founded by parents of five, Adam and Dana Sue Hinkle, Creative QT’s vision is to empower parents and encourage a culture of families that Make Time Together. All products are designed to enrich families’ lives through active, creative play and play based learning. Creative QT products are laboratory tested for compliance with CPSC requirements and are free of lead, cadmium and phthalates so you can play with confidence. So, go ahead … today is the day: be your kid’s hero.
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