It's a fact: We're ALL selfish

All human beings are inherently selfish, even if it's in varying degrees.

All our relationships -- whether the friendly or amorous variety -- are self-serving in some way. Once we conclude that we're not getting what we want out of it, we usually kiss it goodbye.

If we're not getting sex in our marriage, we either cheat or end it. If our calls to a friend go unanswered for too long, and if the person never seems to be around when you need him, you're likely to jettison that friendship altogether.

Even acts that may not seem selfish on the surface turn out the way. Many people admit that they want to have kids so they have someone to take care of them when they get old. Many say they like donating to charities because it makes them feel good. And I don't care how loyal you feel toward your employer and co-workers; the second you're faced with not getting a paycheck, you'll be out of there in a jiffy.

Thus, anyone who calls others selfish but fails to include himself among them is a flat-out hypocrite. Even our brave men and women in uniform, who put their lives on the line every day, have something to gain from their service: a sense of heroism, patriotism, and pride.

I'm not saying there aren't people in the world who devote themselves entirely to helping others (e.g., Mother Teresa), but they're the exception rather than the rule. Even the most seemingly altruistic deeds can come with some strings attached.

Some people are more selfish than others. For example, I know a woman who routinely splurges on herself, but only buys the cheapest things for other people. On the flip side, people like me are cheap with themselves, but enjoy buying expensive things for others.

The bottom line is that human beings, in general, are always looking out for their best interest. To say that a person is completely unselfish just isn't realistic.

Every decision we make starts with asking ourselves, "What's in it for me?"

Of course, in hindsight, many of them end up being bad ones, but we always set out to benefit from everything we do in some way -- whether it's getting money, earning people's respect, or building self-esteem.

If the purpose of life is to achieve a state of contentment -- or something like it -- that in itself suggests that everything we do stems from some selfish motive.

There's nothing wrong with that. It's people claiming they're wholly selfless that I take issue with.

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