"If we worry too much about ourselves, we won't have time for others." Mother Theresa
This is time of year when winter seems to stretch on and on. It's time of year when we're all feeling a little isolated, a little stir crazy, and--if your emails are any indication--a little desperate.
This is time of year when those of us who feel relatively fulfilled during rest of year, suddenly come up empty. We find a bare place inside, like an open door that allows a whisper to come sneaking through. "Is this all there is?" it wants to know.
The question is haunting. But answer is simple. The biggest trick is to remember it when we need it.
TURN IT OUT I should put a sticky note on my forehead just for times when I start asking myself those tired questions: Am I happy? How happy am I? Am I miserable? How miserable am I? Am I tired? Am I sad?
That sticky note would have one simple directive: To think about someone other than myself.
The instant I start feeling tired and sad, it's my cue to do something completely new. To take all that energy that I've been turning in on myself and turn it out into world.
IT CAN MAKE YOU SICK "My needs. My wants. My suffering. It's enough to make you sick. In fact, it does make you sick," Gregg Krech writes in his online article "When it comes to Attention: 'I' Am Enemy." Krech cites scientific studies that attribute depression, anxiety, and alcohol abuse on self-focused attention.
"We find our calling, our bliss, our purposes, by giving up on ourselves," Krech writes. "Our surrender becomes our salvation."
And he certainly wasn't first to say it. Some of us base our religious faith on that very concept.
It's something we all know, deep down. If you had to name times when you've felt most alive in this world, what would you say? For me, each of these times share only one thing in common. They have absolutely nothing to do with me. Late at night, wiping tears from someone else's face. Holding someone else's shaky hand. Head bowed, deep in prayer for someone else's town.