Both women lost someone very close to them. The selfless person received an outpouring of support from everyone in her time of need. Most wanted to be there for her just as she had been there for them. Where the selfish person was abandoned in her time of need, at least that is the way she tells it. I'm sure most people around her were of the frame of mind that, she is difficult to deal with when her needs are small, so she will likely be impossible to deal with when her needs are big. Best to draw a line early so we don't get taken advantage of.
That sums up selfish versus selfless. Selfish actions may have benefits in the short-term, but have severe consequences in the long term. Where selfless behavior may not be as beneficial in the short-term, but in the long term it can have wonderful benefits. So the plight of the selfish all comes down to short-sightedness. They can't foresee how their actions may come back to haunt them.
With all that being said, this concept is not as straightforward a concept as it may seem. Our motivations can warp the results. Some people are so motivated by approval, that they will do everything they can buy people's acceptance. On the surface, their actions may seem selfless, but their true motives are for self-validation, not the benefit of others. Such people often end up getting emotionally drained and victimized by users.
Jesus himself admitted that our human flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41) While he wore a body of flesh, even he would take time out for himself. If Christ himself did that, shouldn't we also need to as well? We can't help and serve very efficiently if we allow ourselves to be completely used up after all. So why do we dismiss self-care so much?
Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. -Luke 5:15-16
From a purely practical standpoint, we need to find a balance between these two extremes in our search for wholeness. Whether we are provoking payback and retaliation through our selfishness; or inviting parasites into our lives by being selfless to a fault. Such actions will only add to our brokenness. In a world so overrun by users, we must stop and consider if we are truly helping people find wholeness with our service to them, or only enabling them to stay broken.
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. -John 6:26
“Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.” -John D. Rockefeller
"I have come to think that care of the soul requires a high degree of resistance to the culture around us, simply because that culture is dedicated to values that have no concern for the soul. To preserve our precious hearts, we may have to live economically against the grain, perhaps so as not to be forced into soul-maiming work just to place bread on the table or put our children through college." -Thomas Moore