What do you mean it’s not all about me? We live in a world of selfies, social media, and narcissistic outlets that reinforces the false pretense that it is all about ourselves. Operating from that mindset seems very normal and natural these days. We expect others to cater to our needs, assuming that our needs are more important than theirs. Obviously, this way of thinking is neither realistic nor healthy. Why do we need such adulation, attention, and admiration? And who can we blame for this? Our parents, our culture, our government, our teachers/coaches, or maybe just ourselves. Could it be that we relied so much on our parents for this ongoing recognition rather than generating self-worth and assumed others would provide it when we entered the real world?
On the other side of the same coin, others assume that it’s always their fault and blame themselves for everything bad that happens in their life. In both cases, self-praise was never learned and positive reinforcement is constantly sought from others. People rely exclusively on external reinforcement and never learn ways to reinforce internally. In some cases, they never received unconditional love and are determined to find it and affirm that they are worthy of love. Or maybe they were taught that self-love and self-respect were bad and egocentric. Two ends of the spectrum but neither position is healthy or positive. Everything is about finding a healthy balance. Feeling the need to broadcast your positive attributes is unhealthy, but generating them through self-talk is healthy.
Unfortunately, many of us spend an inordinate amount of time comparing ourselves with others and perceiving that we don’t measure up. We tend to focus on the one thing that we did wrong instead of the many things we did right. Ideally we want to focus on our positive behaviors, learn from our mistakes, and let go of our past failures. Most people are so self-absorbed that they don’t even notice when we mess up, so stop beating up on yourself and start focusing on ways to get better. Also focus on your character and integrity more than your accomplishments and achievements since that will provide a greater impact on the people you care about. Serving and helping others takes the focus off your need to prove yourself and produces internal satisfaction and greater rewards. When you shift your focus from external to internal you’ll find long-lasting fulfillment instead of fleeting satisfaction.