When asked to describe yourself, describe what you do, not what you are, or how you feel.
Yes, intentions matter. But actions matter more. Great intentions are puny when compared to moderately helpful acts.
An act connects your mind to the outside world; intentions, goodness, perfection are solipsistic states. Talk is cheap.
When it is stated that altruism is as good/bad as selfishness because it leads to some form of pleasure for the agent, the mistake is so primal and paradigmatic that it may escape many: The state of the agent is only part of the picture. What is the state of the other? What has happened in the world other than the pleasant feeling in the agent's mind?
It's the primary focus on the inner (and remember, "inner" is ME) that is the hidden narcissism in hard-core spirituality and related disciplines.
When the focus of a self has turned primarily to the quality of inner experiencing without any relation to objective reality, as advised by sages of all ages, then the delusion starts.
This NY Times article is interesting:
Here’s one provocative consequence of this perspective on happiness. If happiness is not a state of mind, if happiness is a kind of tango between your feelings on one hand and events and things in the world around you on the other, then there’s the possibility of error about whether you’re happy. If you believe you’re experiencing pleasure or, perhaps especially, pain, then, presumably, you are. But the view of happiness here allows that “you may think you’re happy, but you’re not.”
One especially apt way of thinking about happiness — a way that’s found already in the thought of Aristotle — is in terms of “flourishing.” Take someone really flourishing in their new career, or really flourishing now that they’re off in college. The sense of the expression is not just that they feel good, but that they’re, for example, accomplishing some things and taking appropriate pleasure in those accomplishments. If they were simply sitting at home playing video games all day, even if this seemed to give them a great deal of pleasure, and even if they were not frustrated, we wouldn’t say they were flourishing. Such a life could not in the long term constitute a happy life. To live a happy life is to flourish.