Recently I have been thinking a lot about what we focus on and how that can impact us.
The more we focus on ourselves the worse our mental health seems to be getting. Over the last 10-20 years it seems an increasing amount of content (books, podcast, articles) is devoted to loving ourselves and taking care of ourselves. Or to put it another way, we seem to be obsessed with ourselves.
Now don’t hear me saying that eating right, getting the appropriate amount of sleep, working out consistently, and meditating/praying are not all important.
I believe that self-care is important. I do however think we have taken what I would consider normal self-care to self-worship. We take the normal self-care to an unhealthy self-focus.
[Let me be clear on another front…I absolutely think we ought to take mental health very very seriously.]
The Potential Solution
So if focusing on ourselves too much is the problem, what is the solution.
To put simply, it’s thinking about others more than ourselves.
There is so much power in waking up in the morning with a focus on how you can serve and add value to the people you are around.
Can you fall into the trap of neglecting yourself because you are so focused on serving others? Sure. All of this falls on a spectrum. But right now, I sense that the spectrum is leaning hard towards self worship.
“Please direct your attention to the front for announcements”
Think of the announcements on a plane right before takeoff. “In case of an emergency, put the mask on yourself first then make sure it looks good…take a picture of it and post it to all your social media channels. Check regularly on what sort of response it is getting. Then place your value in what others are thinking of you!”
Obviously that is not what it says…what it actually says is “In case of an emergency, put the mask on yourself first THEN HELP THOSE AROUND YOU.”
Life is not meant to be about us. The experiences, wisdom, and knowledge that we have, the value we can offer, is meant to flow through us to others. It is not meant to end with us. When it ends with us… when life is about us…it creates stagnation, it creates a fun house mirror distortion on our perspective and can lead to mental health issues.
The little I do know about mental health is that poor mental health is rarely a “one day you’re healthy, the next you’re not” type experience. It is usually a slow fade into poor mental health.
The way to live a life of purpose and joy is to be about others!
PS. If you are struggling right now with mental health, get help! Don’t spend time wondering if you could have avoided it…just get help. The time to evaluate is not in the middle of health problems. Get help now, then at a later date, spend some time evaluating how you can better take care of yourself.
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