What makes people selfish?

When I was on my trip I had an opportunity to spend a lot of quality time with family members I normally only see maybe 1-2 times a month. It was pleasant being able to finally be old enough to talk as an adult, among adults. While talking with one particular uncle, he commented that as a child I was incredibly selfish and that I wasn’t willing to share anything. He compared my brother and I (constantly fighting) with his brother and him (hardly ever fighting). I got a little peeved about the conversation, because I honestly can’t un-do my childhood, and I certainly do not consider my self selfish now.

Both my parents, and my whole family were very generous. Everyone stressed sharing and generosity to me. So why was I selfish?

All I can say about the whole thing was that I guess I didn’t really get the concept of sharing for a long time. Maybe I was mentally deficient or something :frowning: Or perhaps other children helped create the selfishness problem. Or maybe my parents childrearing skills were not as great as I thought?


I think it was incredibly rude of your uncle to bring up your so-called selfishness as a child. Geez, most kids are selfish to a point. What makes them selfish? Nature. It’s how kids are. Parents do their best (usually) to curb the selfishness and encourage generousity, but every kid is different.

Contrary to popular belief, I think kids with siblings have more issues with sharing than only kids. My son (an only child) is very generous with his stuff when friends come over. I think it’s because he doesn’t have to be continually sharing with a sibling. I think I was fairly selfish as a kid because I resented having to share with my younger sister.

Human nature.

And your uncle is a wanker who doesn’t know anything about children. Part of the development cycle is the “me, mine!” phase that everybody goes thru. He was just yanking you. Sounds like you grew up more than he did. You’re probably just fine. You can go out with my sister/brother anytime.

I think you’re asking the wrong question…selfishness is the default setting, humans have to be socialized to become unselfish. Apparently, you’ve become an unselfish adult. Congratulations. And as the previous two posters said, it was rude of your uncle to bring this up. I think that most adults who are emotionally adult are embarrassed to some degree about things they did as kids. Don’t sweat it.

I know the answer to why people are selfish,but I’m not going to tell you. It’s MY information,and you stay away from it!

Yeah,basically what Lynn said,although I’m not embarrassed about anything I did as a kid. I’m embarrassed about getting caught at many things,and my sister who is three years older than I,delighted in helping me get caught,but I’m now a completely different person. Well,slightly different person.


Many philosophers argue that all our actions are motivated by selfishness. Some would even argue that Mother Teresa was motivated by selfishness. Which is to say that selfishness is not a bad thing. Quite the contrary; it is believed selfishness is necessary for survival.

The only difference between a “selfish” person and a “selfless” person is the latter does not advertise their selfishness.