So you want more?
Who hasn’t been there? Personal development. A strong focus on me, me, me. Life throws it at us. Books, magazines, TV shows, and motivational speakers. All saying the same things in different ways: “Take Care of Yourself,” “Have only friends that elevate you,” “Whoever doesn’t contribute must go!” “Remove negative energy,” “You deserve your heart’s desires,” and so on. Nothing intrinsically wrong with it all, but one wonders if at some point all the focus on self leads to…well…self focus.
What about self focus?
Nothing, if it stays positive – keeping stock of where we can improve our lives and get better, which is what ALVN is about. But at some point self focus can become a hazard. On one side of the coin is the overanalyzing to the point of rumination. At this point all energy is spent on what we did wrong and what needs to be changed, to our detriment. The other side of the coin is we are so self focused relationships become a means to an end and people and things don’t matter until they can DO something for us. The latter side of the coin is what we are going to talk about today.
What have you done for me lately?
That’s what could happen when we see the world through our own needs, when it’s all about our advancement, and when all that matters is what we have, where we are, and what we are building. Basically, we walk around with that song playing in our head. At first, it feels great…all that self focus as we clean out. But then it gets ugly and brokenness sets in. Because in the end people matter, and life cannot be a loving space when we each think it needs to revolve around us. Inadvertently, our self absolved world will lead to us treating people badly, and hurting them. Oh yes, we might build this great edifice, we might become well advanced in our pursuits, we might have books and movies made of our achievements, but we will end up sad and alone where it matters the most.
Is my self help guru wrong?
Not necessarily. There are times in our lives when we do need to focus on self care, when we do need to assess who and what is stagnating us, but we also have to remember the age old concept of love. When you give love, you will receive and feel love…and that one simple word is what makes us whole. It will not be felt when we constantly see people as a means to an end.
So, if your mind is constantly on you, you, you, then yes your time with the self help guru has gone on way too long. It was never meant to be all about you, or me, and you, and me…ad infinitum.
Make me whole
Self focus, turned to selfishness, will never bring a sense of wholeness. To get away from ourselves, we need to reach out to others, see others, think about others. That friend that is negative energy might need help, not distance. They might need direction and a good friend to tell them what they can’t see. That person you meet who does not have the next contact you need in business might be the person that is loyal in other ways that matter, not to be discarded.
So the conclusion: Wonder why many psychologists recommend volunteerism to a client with many internal issues? Wonder why people in developing countries with communal societies seem happier? Because at the core of volunteerism (or ministry as some call it), and community, is the concept of “others.” So, looking for a way to be whole? Want to feel good about yourself? Want to feel you matter? LOVE SOMEONE ELSE.
Love is at the core of focusing on the “other.” And the “other” is necessary even as you focus on self care.
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