We need to know we’re highly valued and deeply loved for who we are. And we experience this in part by others coming through on our behalf and regularly affirming our worth. At the same time, life is not just about us and we must learn to offer ourselves to others as well.
Others must naturally pour into us as young children. And there’s not much we can do to contribute back to them. Life is just about us and this is as it should be for this season.
But as we grow, there should be a shift away from the selfish attitudes of childhood to the more mature understanding of caring for the needs of others as well.
Of course, this is more difficult when our needs have not been met or when we’ve never discovered our true self. It’s hard to give ourselves away when we don’t know what we have to offer.
In fact, much of our self-centeredness might be traced back to our own deep doubts, insecurities, and shame. When we’re confident in who we are we have greater freedom to offer ourselves to others.
However, despite whatever difficulties might exist in our story, we must still realize life is not just about us.
Meaning, purpose, and the good life are found through serving others.
For example, our work, whether it’s in the products we make or the service we provide, must make a meaningful contribution back to our communities for us to earn a living. There’s a mutual relationship here that requires us to consider the interests of others and not just ourselves.
And certainly this is true relationally. Whether in marriage, friendship, or just being a good neighbor, healthy relationships demand we consider the needs of others to varying degrees.
Selfishness puts a strain on relational bonds and this eventually erodes the basic trust needed for our communities to thrive. We create a dog-eat-dog world when we can’t trust each other enough to look out for anything more than our own self-interest.
Receive all the love and attention from others your soul needs. And remember life is not just about you. Use your strength and all that you are to look out for the interests of others as well.
Photo by Ave Calvar on Unsplash