Self-absorption can become habitual. We can even become preoccupied with all the superficial and none of the important things that are a part of our lives. We actually make the little things into the issues we become most concerned about. For example, worrying about how you look, or how funny you are around your peers, or whether you possess the most up-to-date gadgets, i.e., smart phones, etc., is focusing on the wrong stuff. This is especially true when the motivation for having those things, or being so impressive is just to impress others with how good we are. If you spend time comparing yourself with other people, you are self-absorbed, and probably scared that someone will find out the truth about yourself. You exude self-confidence, but suffer from low self-esteem. You believe your worth is proven if you are good enough. The thing is, you don't really believe you are good enough. So, being better than others is the next best thing. Focusing on our performance leaves little time and energy to learn from others or to appreciate them.
Our egos are fragile when we spend so much time focused on them. Instead of our ego, focusing on our character would be a much more healthy and helpful strategy. Happiness is a natural bi-product of determining what our genuine values are, and then living that way.
Have you ever heard a family or a group of people called "dysfunctional"? Probably. That word gets thrown around a lot in treatment centers. Sometimes I think we use certain words, just because we can't think of, or don't want to take the time to explore other possibilities. So, let's examine a functional family. Here's a list of the possible characteristics of a family that is nurturing and working together pretty well:
People feel free and, at least somewhat, comfortable to talk about their feelings. It's ok to have opinions and emotions.
All emotions are ok.
People are made to understand that they are more important than their performance.
All subjects are open for discussion.
Each person is responsible for their own actions.
Not very many "should's" are passed around.
There are clear and appropriately flexible boundaries
The atmosphere is relaxed.
It feels good to be there.
Family and individuals face and work through stress together.
Accomplishments and growth is celebrated.
Individuals express feelings of self-worth.
Pretty impressive list. You might be thinking, "my family is not even close to all that". If that's really the case, then your family is about average. Most families struggle with at least half of the above characteristics and I left out several that the gurus of family therapy put on their lists of what is necessary for a family to function in a healthy manner. Don't freak! Set up an appointment with your counselor to talk about a game plan for addressing your family environment. Start somewhere and grow from there.
-- Rick B.
"I signed up for an exercise class and was told to wear loose-fitting clothes. IF I HAD any loose-fitting clothing, I wouldn't have signed up in the first place."
"When I was young we used to go skinny dipping, now I just chunky dunk."
"Wouldn't it be nice if whenever we messed up our life, we could simply press 'Ctrl Alt Delete' and start all over?"
"Stress is when you wake up screaming, and then you realize you haven't fallen asleep yet."
Dr. Candace McDaniel 8021 East Thornton Fwy, Suite A Dallas, Texas 75228