We all have aspirations to be successful, but imagine your dreams slowly drifting off and your goals suddenly unattainable. But fear not, for living amongst us are those who put aside their needs to help others attain their goals in the face of hardships. We call them selfless. The woman who flashed a pleasant smile as she held the door open for you on your way out from a tough day at work; the friend who comforted you in a time of need although he was struggling with troubles of his own; the first respondents to the tragedy that was 9/11 and hurricane Katrina. Without a rigid set of guidelines to define the word, selflessness or altruism can take many different shapes and sizes depending on the situation at hand and the willingness of the selfless. But a definition that encompasses all acts of selflessness can practically be found within the word itself. Selfless. The suffix "-less" means without, so selfless can be thought of as “without oneself”. That woman, that friend, that brave firefighter or Red Cross volunteer acted with the best interests of the other in mind, no matter the consequences their actions may have brought upon themselves. It is this loss of self that characterizes selflessness best.
The goal of the altruistic is to help those in need as best they can, but just as no two keys fit the same lock, selflessness, in a general sense of the word, is not adequate to solve each of our problems. So it makes sense that, in a world where our problems are as diverse as we are, there will be a unique form of selflessness to dispel each of the different types of obstacles that prevent us from reaching our goals. There are those people who need money and so there are those who are monetarily selfless; there are those people who require compassion, so there are those who are emotionally selfless; there are those people who are in need of physiological assistance, and so there are those who are physiologically selfless.