My third and final lifetime/New Years resolution is to take the focus off of myself, and in theory, it sounds like a great plan.
But I've been putting off writing this post today because I'm not sure if I really a) can commit to this b) know how to put it into practice or c) know why I even should.
No one likes someone who only thinks about themselves, but is it a bad thing to think about yourself? Or does taking the focus off of myself mean I never think about my wants and needs, my desires and passions?
In her study Stronger, Angela Thomas devotes an entire week to dealing with attitude struggles, and one day out of those five is entitled I Think Too Much of Myself.
And my hearts begs me to answer this question: Do I? Do I really think too much of myself, or is Angela Thomas just talking about everyone else who might be reading her book?
Well, I suppose that if I have to ask the question, I probably already know the answer.
As a teenager, I struggled with wanting desperately to fit in with the "in-crowd", those superior individuals who never seemed to look in my direction. In response, I tried harder. I wrote down every single outfit for every day of the week so I wouldn't have a repeat. I wouldn't leave until my hair was perfectly teased, my jeans perfectly pegged, my socks perfectly crunched. And my goals for life were planned with a purpose: My reputation. My happiness. My dreams.
|From "Stronger" by Angela Thomas|
You don't have to agree, but it is thought provoking
As an adult, my focus changed because it had to. As Angela Thomas points out, I, like others, realized "it's not necessarily socially or spiritually acceptable to continue with an intense self-focus, so [we] pretend something different on the outside, yet remain in bondage to [our] image, insecurities, and pain on the inside." (pg. 124)
I do feel remorse over thinking too much of myself, but am unsure of how exactly to change my thought patterns. I do recognize that it has put me in a little bubble where only I exist sometimes, where I get frustrated if others try to pop my bubble, and where it's easy to suffocate.
In high school, lunch tables were incredibly important. Where you sat and who you sat with said everything about your social status, and I did everything I could to improve mine.
There was a friend of mine--a really good friend of mine--who had the same lunch period as I did. She was shy, a little introverted, and had probably figured that we would sit together. But I was invited to sit with some friends who might boost my status a little, and so instead of sitting with my friend, I chose the new group. They didn't invite her, and neither did I. And I walked by her everyday to throw my lunch away.
Sitting by herself.
Every. Single. Day.
I said nothing to her.
It didn't work out like it does in those tween shows on Disney, where the offender gets a second chance and apologizes to the offended. My self-centeredness cost me one of the best friends I had ever had.
Being selfish will cost. Even if, at 16 years old, one refuses to acknowledge that truth.
Eventually, it will cost relationships. Marriages. Happiness. And it could cost spiritually, as it seems to me that it would be impossible to have self as priority number one, and also try to keep God there, too.
It seems like focusing on myself would bring the most amount of happiness. I'd get what I want, my dreams would be the most important, and my goals and priorities would be number one. But it also costs me the most. It seems backwards to think that sacrificing my own number one position and placing God there instead would cause an unspeakable joy, but the truth is, that's the way it works. True joy and happiness, a fulfilling life, comes from placing God in that number one slot and allowing His will to work in my life.
So Long, Farewell, au Wiedersehen, Goodbye, Self.