If you focus on yourself too long, it can make you sick.
I don’t mean staring at yourself in the mirror. (Although…just saying.) I’m referring to focusing on your needs, your issues, your problems, your dreams, et cetera. That kind of self-centeredness can drive you a bit insane. I can admit, when I look at and think about me, me, me, I am NOT the best version of myself. As a matter of fact, there were several years that I was plain sick of me!
Now, how dare I suggest that this is wrong when I have a website plastered with my words? The truth is, I’ve done all types of wrongness in my years on earth. And spaced in between some great years and okay ones, I’ve suffered through many. Some years took intense prayer to make it to December 31st and crawl across the threshold into a new one. And I determined – with the help of mentors, friends, a therapist and a completely awesome dog that I’m writing a book about – that I didn’t live through all that hell to keep any tools that may help someone else to myself. See? I’m not so self-involved after all. I suffered and failed for you! (smile)
Truth is, I lived for a time where everything hurt. I resembled a walking wound. And no amount of oozing my sob stories on my friends helped me move beyond that period. What helped? First, learning what God considers a purposeful and whole life for me, and realizing it wouldn’t be free of pain and disappointment. Making that shift gave my conversations new life, and gave me permission to replace “woe” with “this”…is me. I’m sure my friends rejoiced, too!
Secondly, I discovered my journey is something I couldn’t change unless I embraced it all. For instance, I had to embrace any jealousy that gripped my heart at weddings after I divorced. Before I could wholeheartedly celebrate others, I needed to know that jealousy was about fear. I was terrified of not getting another chance to ever experience being loved that way. Acknowledging and getting to the root of that fear was a major turning point.
I finally realized I was afraid that my current experience was it. I thought there was nothing more and hoped there’d be nothing less. That caused me to mull over my failures and re-think all my decisions, and talk about them constantly. Finally annihilating my fear about the future is how I channeled the energy spent focusing on myself into something useful and healthy. In time, much of the life I desired is the life I got. Perfect and pain-free? No. Perfect for me? Absolutely.
Consider your thoughts when you’re alone, especially during a tough time. Are they fueled by fear or gratitude? If you or someone you know is heavy on the fear side of things, what are some suggestions to shift the weight? Share your suggestions in the comments!