10 Signs You Have A Selfless Personality & Inspire Others With Your Big Heart

Selfless people love to give, but need to be aware of how it impacts their own well-being.

smiling person hugging someone Bedya / Shutterstock

There are some people in the world who dedicate their lives to helping others. The spend their free time, money, empathy and compassion to give back to those in need.

Through acts of kindness, selfless people like Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Buddha, and Jesus Christ have shown the world that it is possible to live a beautiful and fulfilling life without just looking out for yourself. But what exactly does it mean to be selfless?


What is a selfless personality?

Acts of selflessness include things like putting other people’s needs in front of your own, being generous and caring, and concerning yourself with the well-being of others. Selfless people are altruistic, giving and expecting nothing in return.

If you do those things more often than not, you are selfless.

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Being selfless does not mean you have to do massive things for people who need it. Small acts that might seem inconsequential on the surface can be selfless as well. Even encouraging someone by cheering them on from the sideline is an act of selflessness.

Being selfless cannot be attributed to how you were raised or what comes naturally to you. It is a combination of both nature and nurture. Stopping to ask someone in distress if you can help or actively listening to a person who wants to be heard are examples of ways people can be selfless.

Selflessness vs. Selfishness

Selfish people are a dime a dozen. They get what they want by all means necessary. They also fail to consider the impact on others when making decisions and are preoccupied with their own profit, pleasure, or well-being.

There are some key differences in the personality traits of the selfish vs. the selfless.

  • Selfish people put their needs above all else, while selfless put others first.
  • Selfless people are interested in the greater good, but selfish people fend for themselves and have no interest in the welfare of others.
  • Selfish people lack consideration for anyone other than themselves, while selfless people consider the impacts of their actions on everyone.
  • Selfish people lack empathy or compassion, but those are the things that drive selfless people and give their lives purpose.

Is having a selfless personality a good thing?

Being selfless can be a beautiful thing. Without charitable people, we wouldn’t have clothing donations and would see yard sales popping up everywhere when people get rid of things they no longer need.

The people who were saved on 9/11 might have perished along with the people who didn’t make it. People like firefighters, good police officers, lifeguards, and mentors are the direct result of the desire to help.

It literally tears a selfless person up inside to see others in pain and suffering. But the downside is that people with selfless qualities may give too much at their own expense.

Being exposed to the fear and stress of others can impact their own mental and emotional stability and lead to emotional burnout. If selflessness becomes self-sacrifice, your own value will come from what people think about you and how much praise you receive for your actions.


Being selfless should extend not only to others, but to yourself as well. If you can find the balance between being of service to other people and practicing self-love and self-care on yourself, everyone will win.

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10 Signs Of A Selfless Personality

1. You're generous.

A truly selfless person is giving of their time and money. Whether it’s helping with a project, feeding people in need, or spending time with elderly family members, they have no problem putting their own needs on the back burner to put a smile on someone else’s face.

2. You show empathy and compassion.

Being empathetic is to put yourself is the shoes of someone else. Their situation may not directly affect you, but you show compassion for what they are going through and do your best to be there for them.


3. You put others first.

Putting others first doesn’t have to be a big feat. You can allow someone else to pick the place you eat, or give the last bite to your mate. Even taking time out of your day to do something nice when you’d rather be sitting on the couch is a wonderful and selfless thing to do.

4. You give people the benefit of the doubt.

Despite what you’ve heard of your own unconscious bias, you trust people until they give you a reason not to. You take what people tell you at face value and are eager to help.

5. You're understanding.

Your empathy allows you to be understanding about the plights of other people. You are patient and willing to hear them out. Selfless people are also open-minded and able to consider all perspectives.

6. You know how to compromise.

Flexibility and compromise are key to being selfless. It can’t be your way or the highway. The idea is to come to an agreement that makes everyone feel good. Giving a little to get a little is the ultimate act of selflessness.


7. You're an active listener.

Most people listen to respond because they are selfish and only concerned with how they view a situation. Active listening is foregoing what you want to say for a moment and really hearing and understanding another person’s point of view. Selfless people do this with ease.

8. You give without expecting anything in return.

Selfish people usually have ulterior motives for anything they do for another person. If you are selfless you give without the expectation of receiving kudos, payment, respect, or love. You do it because it’s in your heart to do so.

9. You forgive easily.

Forgiveness can be hard, but selfless people have mastered it. By now, it is common knowledge that forgiving is for you, not the person who hurt you. By letting go of the hurt and resentment, you not only let the offender off the hook, but you free yourself from the binds of anger and welcome good vibes.


10. You consider the repercussions of your actions.

Some people do what makes them happy without any thought of the downhill impact. Selfless folks not only think about how their actions will serve their best interests, but they consider the repercussions on the people and around them and the environment.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.