To become a better person, you cannot leave yourself alone. You have to cajole and agitate yourself to change. Otherwise you will remain mired in the suffocating confines of your limited self.
It does not start with people telling you what is wrong with your life; those people you shouldn’t, but can and do ignore. It starts with you receiving and accepting what they say. No one is better at convincing yourself to change than you.
When you change, you sacrifice a little of your pride. You expose yourself to failure, and at some point you will fail. The wound will sting, and you will question why you started this journey in the first place. Then you will remember: You could not go on living as you were before.
Faith is key to overcoming failure. The worthiness of the cause dulls the pain. The more powerful the vision, the more of yourself it transcends.
It’s a mistake to call what drives this process pure unselfishness. It is, to put it crudely, quid pro quo. The person you want to be is happier, more active, more generous, more selfless than the person you were. You are joyful in the company of others. Petty slights slide more easily off your back into the gutter where they belong. You are a better person. In retrospect your sacrifice was no sacrifice at all.