I received an anonymous question via my blog, and it felt so relevant, I wanted to share:
"How would you recommend I get out of myself? Stop being so self-involved, I mean?"
This is a great question. I think it's an inner battle a lot of us struggle with, especially in the age social media. We are all constantly bombarded by updates asking, “How are you feeling? What are you up to? What new thing have you accomplished?” etc. Everyone is encouraged to share their highlights and appears to be having the best day of their lives .. everyday. This is creating a societal expectation where exceptional is the new average.
I think being self involved comes from perceiving “the self” to be more important than it actually is. It's true, there are better ways to live than just focusing on the mirror and constantly managing other's impressions of who we are, even though it's a comfortable place to live; hyper focusing on the self is often a side effect of escaping the present moment and opportunities for real connection. I think making a change requires understanding the root of the problem and creating realistic solutions that you can commit to.
When I feel particularly self involved, these are the steps I take to reconnect with the world around me:
1) Life is not a stage, though it certainly feels like that at times. Of course there are real reasons for sharing what's going on in our lives; promoting a business, keeping up with friends/family, networking, etc. But finding a healthy balance is key; I heard it said once, "if you only play for the applause, you leave your happiness in the hands of the audience.”
2) Doing things just for me! Sometimes that means leaving my phone at home and not posting about the awesome hike I just went on (or how I rewarded myself with a pint of ice cream ;). This might sound counter productive to being less self involved, but it can take our spirits being happy and healthy to be able to show up for others in a meaningful way. It's all about prioritizing energizing/fulfilling experiences and people, rather than sacrificing our needs and desires for other's expectations of us.
3) Asking people how they are, and giving my full attention to their response- it's simple, yet meaningful. People can tell the difference when our attention is split between them and our devices, they can tell the difference when we are engaged in conversation (eye contact, asking thoughtful questions) or just passively nodding along. Whether it's a genuine compliment, sincere question, a wave hello, or a smile- our presence can actively improve someone's day, much less our own.
Let me know if anything above resonated with you! What are some of your favorite ways to stay present and attuned to the world around you? Share in the comment section below, or reply to my personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org!
- Brittany, xo
Daily Dad Joke #7:
I saw a sign that said "watch for kids," and I thought to myself: that's a reasonable trade!"