I have a friend who occasionally says, “I may not be much, but I’m all I ever think about.” He says that the phrase isn’t original with him. He heard it from a friend of his. Regardless of where the statement originated, I’ve always found it to be hauntingly personal.
If it was possible for someone to read my thoughts every minute of the day, I wonder how often I would be thinking about myself. I’m guessing that my friend’s statement would be correct. I do think about myself a lot. I imagine that we all think about ourselves more than we think about anything else.
We may not be thinking directly about ourselves, be we’re probably thinking about things that pertain to us like our finances, home, health, work, etc. So why do so many of our thoughts center on ourselves? Perhaps it comes from our instinct for self-preservation. I mean if we don’t take care of ourselves, who’s going to take care of us? Right? You hear this self-focused philosophy every time you board an airplane for a flight. The flight attendant reminds you that “In case of an emergency, an oxygen mask will drop down in front of you. If you are traveling with young children, put the mask on yourself, first and then, place the mask on the child, who is traveling with you.” Let’s face it. When it comes to preserving life we often think of ourselves before we think about others.
Don’t’ get me wrong. I am a big proponent of having a healthy self-esteem. I’ve heard it said that you will only be able to love others to the degree that you love yourself. If this is true, I’m guessing that there are quite a few people who are struggling to love others because they have so little love for themselves.
On the other hand, I’ve also heard it said that the greatest love anyone can display in life is to lay down their life for others. This kind of thinking goes way beyond thinking about ourselves. It involves giving up everything we have for the good of others. So here’s a challenge for you and me. Select a day and attempt to focus your thoughts on others and what they need more often than you think about yourself and what you need. Perhaps in giving ourselves away, we will find our true selves, which will be a self we really can love.