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Maranda Marvin

Graduate Student,

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Do you think it's selfish to be nice to people only because it makes YOU feel good?

This questions stems from a self-awareness of WHY I feel for others the way I do. I wondered, would I still empathize or care as much as I do if I didn't have some physiological process occurring in me that caused me to "care" about someone else's plight in life? Or maybe the physiological process does not "cause" me to care, but rewards me for caring? (In the form of a warm feeling.)

This got me to thinking about the physiological make-up of individuals that do not find it "natural" to be nice, empathize, or care for the plight of others. Can we really judge them? What do you think?

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    Feb 23 2012: I think it important to do things that make you feel good.
    In this case it can make another person feel good what is necessary for cooperation which humanity depends on to be successful in life. Without this trait of caring, humanity had become extinct long ago.

    If children lack the loving care they need they can't give it themselves as they grow older. They will feel hurt and as a reaction hurt other people until the pain as result opens their eyes and let them rediscover love.
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    Feb 25 2012: Really had to think about this one! If I'm nice to someone to the point of getting an emotional reward (warm fuzzy feeling) then it's because my behaviour was authentic. If I'm nice to someone I don't feel deserves my kindness its not becasue I'm wanting the emotional reward - it's either out of professionalism, or fear and I end up with a gut wrenching sence of being a worm!
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    Feb 23 2012: I don't think it is selfish to be nice to people as a way of making myself feel good. I think it is selfish to mistreat other people to make myself feel good.
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    Feb 22 2012: Empathy is natural so the last part of your piece is incorrect. There is however a set of social constructs that has mislead us, over the time, into believing that we are different from others - race religion and nationality. .