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Altruism Essay Sample

Altruism refers to having selfless concern for others, and acting in ways that are exclusively beneficial to others. Psychological explanation of codependency refers to a personality trait in which a weaker personality passively attaches itself to a stronger personality. In this sense, codependence refers to a behavior, feeling or thought that goes beyond a normal spectrum of caring for others or self sacrifice, to a point that it is described as being destructive or unhealthy. The weaker individual places his/her needs in a lower priority in an attempt to please and seek approval from others. Co dependence is associated with extreme compliance, low self-esteem, and control and avoidance problems. Lastly, is the personal and professional social responsibility.

Personal social responsibility may simply be described as having concern over the environment and those around us. This entails checking how our actions, behaviors and attitudes affect those around us, and being accountable for our actions. This concept strives to sensitize people to have a positive effect on their environment. Related to this is the concept of professional social responsibility, which requires professionals to be accountable for their environment, and the effect their professions have on others and the environment (Schroeder, 2005). A comparison of three concepts reveals that codependence is an unhealthy behavior as it negatively affects the individual. Social responsibility is closely related to altruism however, altruism is a natural response to help others while personal and social responsibilities is a requirement.

Altruism has received attention from Psychological schools of thought, which have explained it, relating to human behavior and actions. A general agreement is that human behavior is greatly influenced by their needs and immediate environment. For example, Abraham Maslow explained human behavior in relation to a hierarchy of needs. In his explanation, people struggle to obtain certain needs that are classified in five levels. In lower levels, a person’s behavior is influenced by competition to obtain needs necessary for human existence. As the needs go higher, the individual’s behavior changes as the individual seeks emotional and self-actualization needs. At this point, the individual is more likely to be altruistic compared to those seeking lower needs.

With the rising number of calamities and problems the world is facing currently, altruism should become a way of life. From natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes to hunger, human conditions would improve if everyone embraced altruism. Altruism helps both the giver and the receiver. While it is obvious that the receiver’s condition will change, the givers will also feel contented and a sense of importance. This is manifested in a personal experience in which I donated to a charity event. Even though I did not know these people personally, it felt good to be helping someone suffering, and knowing that my contribution will help improve the situation.  Despite the goodness of altruism, it should have a limit. Altruism should be carried out with caution, not to end in one being overwhelmed by the need to help others to an extent of neglecting his/ her own needs. Examples of personal altruistic actions include saving someone’s child or someone else from a burning house or a river, donating to charity (both personal and professional) and offering to educate a poor child.

Looking at the huge help that people all over the world offer to victims of various calamities, I am optimistic of the future of psychology in relation to altruism. There is awareness of this concept, and because of its need in the contemporary society, altruism will be emphasized and researched enough to be established as a discipline. Though there are arguments opposing the existence of true altruism, leading to classification altruism such as reciprocal altruism, I believe certain acts are purely altruistic. Critics argue that everything people do are associated with an inherent expectation to receive a reward.