Naturally, we see things from our point of view. And while we know other people exist, we still tend to see them as simply supporting characters in our own story, rather than respecting their own interest apart from us. To love well we must learn to enter their world and remember everything is not about us.
We all start off with a strong self-centered orientation to life. In our infantile mind, our parents exist for the sole purpose of meeting our needs. It’s often not until years later that we realize they have a life of their own that does not have us at the center.
And hopefully this realization comes at a time in which we’re mature enough to respect their life apart from us and that this is okay.
But all too often we struggle to make this transition and we bring our immature selfishness into our adult relationships.
This happens, for example, when we assume every thought and feeling our wife has is somehow a verdict on us. And feeling like we’re constantly on trial, we get defensive and repeatedly explain ourselves rather than hearing and caring for her heart. In short, we don’t allow her to have her own world without making it about us.
This can also play out in friendships – living as if the friendship exists just to make us happy without actively caring for the other.
Likewise, when we attempt to live vicariously through our children we’ve again made their life to be about us rather than honoring the unique story God is telling through them.
Whatever it looks like, love requires us to respect the other has his own world of interest apart from us. And it’s not until we’re able to freely enter this world that we’re able to love them well.
In the end, remember everything is not about you. Allow others to have their own world and heart concerns without you at the center. Practice entering their world, seeing from their point of view, and loving them well.