One should not seek to be understood but to understand others. Seeking to be understood is selfish and self-centered; while seeking to understand someone else and their situation while sacrificing your own needs to be understood is altruistic. You do not get any payout when you seek to understand others but you do gather relevant information that can be used at a later date to understand commonalities in the human existence and condition and the various variations in that existence and condition. That way you can be a better, more conscientious person and that is a positive payout and selfish gain in and of itself.
Being altruistic is actually selfish in a good way because it makes you feel better after you have helped someone out of the kindness of your heart. If someone is truly seeking selfish motives, altruism can really give the self a good feeling. Therefore, altruism is in some ways a positive form of selfishness.
As we learn and grow and develop throughout our lifetimes, certain behaviors became inherent because they get reinforced, whether by society or by someone other force. Nobody in their right mind would do something if there was no reward. I believe the good feeling one gets from altruistic behaviors is God blessing and reinforcing the good behavior. Plus, there also may be an evolutionary reason people feel good about helping each other. In other words, when we help out someone else in the group, the whole group is more likely to survive. Thus, over evolutionary time, our brains began to develop so that certain behaviors were rewarded intrinsically, like altruistic behavior.
So, if you really are looking to be selfish, try to help someone out; that is as selfish as you can get because the payout and blessings are amazing. You won’t regret your sacrifice.