Anybody can be an asshole — it takes discipline to be your better self.
Think about your last angry response, think about your last selfish action; all these moments that spring to mind – and trust me, more than a few spring to mind immediately – were the easier way to respond.
We felt anger and responded in kind. We didn’t want to share and so we didn’t. It’s very easy to do these things because they’re a human being’s natural tendency.
Now think on if someone says mean words to you. Instead of responding angrily, turn to look at them. Then smile, and say in your mind, I love you. Don’t say it out loud, that might get a little uncomfortable. But think: when someone says a mean thing to you, it’s not about you. It’s about how happy they are with themselves. Nobody who loves themselves and their exemplary life wants to be mean to other people — if you’re happy, it just doesn’t really cross the mind.
And so really, the people you most want to hate are those who most need your kindness.
It takes discipline but here’s an easy exercise to try — the next time you feel an angry desire, impulse, or idea surface in the mind, do not act on it. Just say, Oh look, here is selfishness. Or, Here’s a desire for retribution. And then, reply in the opposite direction — which is almost always kindness.
Selfishness? Have a dash of kindness. And over time, rather than becoming a more selfish person through action, you become a more kind person.
And over time this discipline of kindness will not be forced anymore. You will become hardwired for good.