I had no clue how self-focused I am. I am so self-absorbed, blinded by my miniscule problems and bad attitudes. I’m so selfish, I didn’t even recognize how bad it was!
The other day, I was worrying over the problems of someone who had shared some really sad stuff with me. I hate seeing someone suffer, and knowing that I can do nothing for them. (Watching helplessly as someone suffers, especially if it’s a friend, and having questions with no answers, are two of the top things I hate.) I was thinking about their circumstance, and though I was praying, I wished that there was something more that I could be doing. It was as I was thinking these thoughts that it suddenly hit me – I hadn’t thought about my own problems since I had started worrying about this person. The past couple weeks had been terrible for me; I was an emotional wreck. But since I had heard this stuff from this person, my mind had shifted from my problems to theirs.
It made me go back and remember how this had happened before. When my friend was struggling with her calling to write, and she was going through a hard time, I was worried for her. I called her to check in with her, to let her talk. When my friend went overseas for a couple weeks, I was worried about him. I prayed for him every single day he was gone. When a friend was feeling down, feeling like she wouldn’t match up to everything she wanted to be, I prayed for her, and tried to offer encouragement. Thinking back on these made me remember that even though I still struggled with things, it helped take the focus off of myself. Being worried about someone else forced me to shift mindsets. It was good for me to love someone else above my own cares and concerns.
I love the friends I have; when they hurt, I hurt. When they’re happy about something, I’m happy about it too. But it hadn’t really clicked until the other day that when I’m focusing on others, really loving them and trying to invest in them, to be there for them, that my own cares slip away. I start to lay awake at night, praying and hurting for someone. I start to think about them through the day, lamenting that there’s nothing I can do. And thoughts of my own troubles not only diminish in relevance, but also get pushed aside.
Does this mean my troubles go away? No. But when I start to truly love and care about others the same way that I love and care about myself, I start to see myself slowly slip away. And it’s a truly wonderful thing!