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How can I focus more on myself and less on others?

Karen R Koenig
Psychology

Notice how much of what you must do involves the word “self”? No accident there. To be self-focused doesn’t preclude being other-focused. To be a healthy, balanced person, you must be both. However, all the time you’ve been taking care of others, you’ve lost ground focusing on you. I’m not encouraging you to be self-centered or self-absorbed, full of yourself, narcissistic, arrogant, or a Ms. Smarty Pants Know It All whom no one will like (including me). I am saying that you’re going to have to start paying lots more attention to your wants and needs.

Again, note how being self-focused implies that you have reflected on your inner workings and have been curious enough to know what your desires are. Being self-focused means getting to know every inch of yourself, understanding yourself as best you can by staying connected to what brings you pleasure and pain and every feeling in between. Focusing on self means facing things such as:

  • I know I’m supposed to love my father/husband/child/ neighbor, but often I don’t.
  • I’m exhausted though I haven’t done much today.
  • I hate salads even though I eat one every day for lunch.
  • I’m in a dilemma hating my job but wanting to hold on until retirement.
  • I’m terrified of commitment but at the same time I’m awfully lonely.
  • I’m not getting any younger and have so many regrets.
  • It’s time to let go of my old dreams, which will never come true.
  • I’m scared of failing, of being disliked, and of so many things in life.
  • I’m depressed and have been for decades.
  • I had a traumatic childhood that I’ve never adequately dealt with.
  • Most of my friends like me because I do so much for them.
  • My life is way out of control.
  • I’d love to take risks, but am afraid I’ll make mistakes or fail.
  • I want a divorce.
  • I don’t like myself very much.
  • I want to change but don’t know how.
  • My life is a mess.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.