People feed the ego by trying to starve it. When they put themselves last or deprive themselves; what they are actually saying is I am the best at being the least.
Society has got into a pissing contest of a sort with this. Everyone unconsciously tries to do outdo everyone else with being the most depraved. This is seen in someone making their story as gloomy as possible. They have to prove that they are in the most pain, are the most broke, are the least love and have the least opportunity.
There is a difference between being a compassionate listener and feeding others negative sense of self. The thing is…if the individual would use some of that energy that they use in telling their story to uplift themselves, they would realize that they have a lot to be grateful for.
If we did this as a group, as a group we would be feeling a lot more uplifted. Then we could use our talents and tools to uplift all of humanity.