You are the main character in the story of your life. You are the center of your universe. And this is normal, even healthy. It’s important to be in touch with yourself and your unique needs, wants, and goals. You can’t be available for others unless you’re there for yourself first.
Yet, sometimes it can be easy to slip into a pattern of focusing on our desires to the exclusion of everyone else in our lives. We call these self-centered tendencies.
While it’s necessary to have a healthy relationship with ourselves, looking completely inward can breed anxiety and stress, feeling like we’re not good enough. It puts a lot of pressure on yourself to be “perfect,” and can also close you off to what others might need.
This is what we’ll be focusing on in today’s article. We’ll talk about the harmful nature of constantly looking inward and how someone can slip into this habit, and some ways you can break out of it and live a happier, more mindful life.
The Self-Centered Mindset
Focusing on yourself quite often stems from feelings of loneliness and isolation. While it’s healthy and normal to be in touch with your thoughts, feelings, and values, self-centeredness can be an attempt for someone to try to meet all of their needs for love and acceptance on their own. This can come from fear of rejection or actual rejection from others.
Anxiety is quite often the fuel that ignites a self-centered mindset. People who are constantly focusing inward may feel insecure or vulnerable about who they are. They’re disconnected from others because they feel inadequate.
Self-Centered Tendencies in the Workplace
Because people who are looking inward tend to feel anxious about who they are, thinking about what others think of them will double their worries. We naturally want to be liked and accepted, but if you’re always looking inward, ruminating about what others think can be devastating.
These people may be less likely to speak up in meetings or could try to avoid interacting with coworkers in order to protect themselves. If they have to interface with a lot of different people in a day, they may experience feelings of personal danger. In other words, they don’t want to put themselves out there for fear of failure and/or rejection.
Dealing with these feelings is different for every person, and there is no one-time, fast-acting solution. However, it’s important to recognize when you’re feeling self-centered and what types of thoughts and emotions might be bringing these feelings on.
Have you felt particularly beaten down at work lately and think it might just be better to keep to yourself? Maybe you’ve experienced trauma at some point in your past, and part of your journey is trying to work through this.
Be aware of how you’re feeling and make mental notes each time you have self-centered tendencies. If you can bring awareness to the behavior, you’re one step closer to getting it to a more manageable level.
From here, it could be useful to step out of your comfort zone, little by little, by finding ways to serve those around you. For instance, this could mean checking in with someone at work, asking how they’re doing with a certain assignment or just in their personal life. Try to take an active interest in another person. You’ll find that as you spend more time focusing on others, you simply might not have as much time to feed the anxiety within yourself. It can have a healing effect.
Putting Yourself Out There
If you live with self-centered tendencies and are trying to manage them, first off, know that you aren’t alone. Accepting yourself for who you are can be extremely difficult sometimes, and healing is a process. Just know that you are enough, you are worthy, and you are loved and respected.
Still, getting to the comfort level of being able to put yourself out there and take risks will take time. It will take growth and the realization that failure is a part of life. It doesn’t define who you are as a person. But you have to commit to this growth. It will be hard, and it will hurt. Holding yourself back due to fear of taking risks, however, will not make you feel better in the long run.
Recognizing and healing self-centeredness takes mindfulness and hard work. It can be scary and confusing, particularly if you haven’t experienced growth like this in the past. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t capable of it, though. Think of some of the ways you can reach out to support someone else (whether in a big or small way), then set goals for how you can do that. Hold yourself accountable for this goal, and others, as you continuously work toward a life of fulfillment through serving others and loving yourself.
When dealing with self-centered tendencies, particularly in the workplace, it can be helpful to have someone to guide you. As your business coach, I can help boost you up, brainstorm ways that you can be a supportive teammate, inspire you to speak up and put yourself out there, and help keep you accountable for your goals. Schedule a meeting today.