Selfishness needs to be recognized as having a harmful effect upon all of us. Pope Benedict XVI compared its action to the effect of gravity: selfishness pulls all of us spiritually earthward, making it harder for us to break free and pursue a life of love and service to others, rather than being in the Pope’s words “a prisoner of the self.”
In this narcissistic culture it is a destroyer of marriages, family relationships, sexual morality, loving relationships in singles, friendships, the unborn, and faith.
The good news is that a daily commitment to grow in virtues, particularly generosity and self-denial, and in grace, can lead to a mastery over selfishness and anger and prevent the development of narcissism.
Rick Fitzgibbons, MD, is the director of Comprehensive Counseling Services and the Institute for Marital Healing outside Philadelphia. Trained in psychiatry at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center, he co-authored Helping Clients Forgive: An Empirical Guide for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hopewith Dr. Robert D. Enright, University of Wisconsin, Madison, for American Psychological Association Books.