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June 20, 2017

Focusing on others is not unselfish

“Observe all men, thyself most.”
(Benjamin Franklin)

 

Occasionally, our ScreamFree Parenting and Marriage materials receive a criticism for telling folks they need to focus less on their family, and more on themselves. This is the height of selfishness, critics have said.

 

It’s actually the exact opposite. “Focus on yourself” is not a call to neglect others; it’s simply a recognition that whatever we focus on most we will inevitably try to control. Thus, ScreamFree is a call to focus on controlling yourself, instead of trying to control others.

 

Only with such self-control can we allow others to be themselves. Only with such self-control can we remain calm in the face of anxiety. Only with such self-control can we listen to people, be fully present with them, and release them from having to do anything for us to make us feel better.

 

So let’s think about this. What’s more selfish:

 

• Focusing on ourselves, taking care of our own needs, and thus freeing others from having to do anything for us?

 

Or:

 

• Neglecting ourselves, focusing on others, and inevitably needing them to behave or feel a certain way to make up for our self-neglect?

 

Peace begins with pause,

 

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