Is it wrong to focus on yourself?
Since starting this blog I have had a number of conversations with different people about whether it is right or wrong to focus on yourself. Should we take care of yourselves first and others second? Or sacrifice for the good of others?
There are as many different “right” answers to this as there are people on the planet I’m sure. However I think we need to take stock and have a think about this.
You see, having studied and taught personal development for years, there is an ugly underbelly to the “empowerment movement”. You know, the people who really want to make a difference in the world but this one problem keeps holding them back. And at the root of this one problem is that they don’t love themselves enough (or insert favourite Achilles heel here). But no matter how many courses said well-wisher does, they still just don’t love themselves enough.
Now, don’t get me wrong… I don’t want this to be taken the wrong way. I’m not bashing personal development, but I am asking us to look long and hard about what’s really holding us back. I have a hypothesis, or is that AN hypothesis? Any way, it goes like this. That if a mother or a father has a sick baby, and they only way to get help for that baby is to beat down the door of the doctor, god forbid anyone should stand in the way of that door! Nothing would stop those parents. They would not stand there and politely think, “I don’t want to bother the doctor” or “maybe I’m not worthy of the doctor’s help” or “I’ve been a bad mother/father, so I shouldn’t ask for help”. They would just bust the door down and get into the doctor. When life necessitates things, people take bold action.
I don’t know the answer, but I would be interested to know the incidence of depression in the “The Great Depression” or during World Wars vs now when times are so good for most people. Perhaps when our survival needs are met we have more time to wallow. Perhaps when we don’t have anything pre-occupying our minds we find things to worry about: and we look “insiiiide: hello in there?!”
So that’s why I’m hypothesising the approach of bold promises to people in survival mode. A baby is in survival mode, people in poverty, or grave illness are in survival mode, maybe you know someone in survival mode. Perhaps if we can link our reasons for growing our businesses (or insert current goal here), to them; then maybe we’ll stop focussing on ourselves, and “get over it” long enough to make a real difference in the world.
A good friend who I had dinner with last night is doing just this, and I am trying to tee up an interview with him while he’s here in Australia so you too can be inspired by what he’s up to and how he’s running his business and manages his “self-worth” question.
I think it’s time that the pendulum swings back a little from “self-help” to “others-help”. Have I been sacrilegious? Maybe. Of course, you have to be out of survival mode yourself… but you wouldn’t be reading my blog if you weren’t would you?
Make someone’s day,
Love Joey x
The women I am with in this photo are prime examples of “Put others before me”…. and they’re doing just fine! My great aunt, my aunt, my Mum, (me), and my Gran.
I think I hear what you’re saying. I been to a few seminars and there is definately a “seminar junkie” set that go to all the free stuff but never do anything. They clamour for the microphone to bleed their problems over all of us, but stand there and expect the answer to be served up on a silver plate, right there at the gig.
“GET OVER IT!”
Well, that’s not exactly what I was saying; but I appreciate your point of view. My suggestion is perhaps a shift in focus from oursleves to others might cause our problems to diminish somewhat. Just another way to look at it.
I’ve thought about this a lot. Having lost our daughter at birth I would have given anything to see and hear her breath. Recently I travelled to South Africa and what resonated with me was the safety drill with the oxygen mask. Fit it to yourself before fitting it on a child. The premise is you can help a lot of people if you look after yourself, you can’t if you are not around…. Lily and James say hi to your James x
Hi Martin. Goodness- I cannot even conceive of how hard it would be to lose your child. At birth or any time. I miscarried twins at 7 weeks, but its a new thing altogether when you get to birth. And still, its true- we have to fit our own oxygen mask huh?!