Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Others More, Self Less

There needs to be a shift in emphasis from self to non-self.  How?  Get your mind off yourself.”

-Norman Vincent Peale


We all like to think we are selfless and that we always put others first.  I certainly don’t like to think I am a selfish person but I have recently come to the painful realization that I am stingy on some levels. I am very protective of my personal time and space.  I don’t give my time or my energy away easily.  Although I would never turn down a person in need I rarely look for opportunities to help others.  My own needs often consume me.  I won’t list all of my personal faults, because it would take too long, but I think about myself more than I should.  It usually begins with how I feel physically.  I am getting old and my body is like an old car with many thousands of miles on the odometer.  It still gets me where I need to go but the ride is not always smooth.  The next stage of self-absorption is how I think and feel emotionally.  How I think is often based on how I feel.  If I am not feeling good, I am probably a little grumpy and my patience with others is likely to be thin.  Occasionally I just feel sorry for myself.  It is very easy to be consumed with thoughts about our own physical challenges, our emotional mood swings, and our worries.  When your focus is on the self, the needs of others can seem secondary or may not even be part of our consciousness.  I once heard a simple teaching that went “Others more, self less”.  I am not saying it is unimportant or wrong to think about your own well-being.  If you are suffering in mind, body, or spirit, it is difficult to be caring about others.  On good days, however, I notice that the less I am self-absorbed and focused on myself, the better I feel in my mind, body and spirit.    


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