GNH Community

Community, Nonprofits and Businesses sharing Information

The Power of Self-Focus: How to Redefine Selfishness for a Fulfilling Life

Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez and Sage Friedman

For some reason, most of the people I work with are super concerned about not being selfish. People (especially women) act like being selfish is one of the worst sins you can commit. Even being perceived as selfish is so distressing that they’ll go to just about any lengths to not be perceived as selfish - even if it’s detrimental to their well-being.

Since one of my mantras is “keep the focus on yourself” this thing about selfishness comes up a lotI’ve been asked a few times what the difference is between that and thinking “It’s all about me.” They may sound similar, but they’re not. 

Keeping the focus on yourself is imperative if you want to live a life with the intention that you enjoy. When you learn to keep the focus on yourself, you're much more likely to be an energized, vital contributing citizen, and things are less likely to be “all about you.” Here’s what I mean. 

When you keep the focus on yourself, you’re focused on what you’re doing or could be doing, what you want and need. That means, you’re less likely to be focused on what others are doing or not doing, what they need, and trying to provide that for them. As the serenity prayer encourages us to do, we want to change the things we can (us) and accept what we can’t change (others). 

Keeping the focus on yourself is about being proactive in your life and not reactive to life. Another way to say that is that it’s about coming out of victim mentality. When we have victim mentality, we don’t perceive choices. We feel like life is happening to us rather than that we’re creating our lives. You will not and cannot take control of your life if you think life is happening to you. You cannot take control of your life unless you keep the focus on yourself. 

I was astonished about how much control I was able to have over my life as a result of my recovery, especially when I built healthy boundaries. I started to live much more intentionally, though I didn’t know I wasn’t living intentionally before that! 

When we live more intentionally, we mind our own business and take responsibility for ourselves and our well-being. That means we’re much more likely to live well, contribute to society, and be good citizens. Wouldn’t it be nice if our communities were made up of more people who live well, contribute to society, and act like good citizens?? 

You can’t control whether others do that, but you can control whether you do that. 

When we keep the focus on ourselves and have an internal focus, we’re much better able to see that circumstances in our lives are just happening. They’re not happening to usLet’s say someone else has done something mean or nasty. If you’re focused on yourself and living mindfully and purposefully, then you don’t take things others do so personally. You’re more interested in what you’re doing, thinking, and feeling and how you’ll respond to that

I like peace. That’s become more and more important to me over time. So, when someone does something that previously might have pissed me off, I’m not really interested in “going there.” I want to maintain my peace. I don’t want to give my peace and serenity away to them (especially if they’re a stranger!). 

For example, when I see someone driving erratically, I remember that I used to drive like that. I know what that’s like. They’re typically “all about me” and not thinking of how their driving is upsetting others and potentially putting others in danger. So I bless them and let them go on their way without losing my shit. 

I’m focused on me, what I’m doing, who I’m being, what I’m thinking and feeling. I’m trying to maintain my peace and serenity. I’m not focused on them and what an asshole they are, which is what I used to do. 

When I used to get pissed off when things like that happened, I’d also relive that moment throughout the day feeling justified in my anger. That meant I experienced that difficulty repeatedly, instead of just one time. Now I can let it go because I’m focused on myself and the life I’m creating. I didn’t know it was an option to not be pissed off under such circumstances. In my family, someone pulling out in front of you equaled being pissed offThat’s just the way it was

If you’re always thinking, “It's all about me” you're a taker, looking to get what you can from others and society. You’re probably walking around thinking that people or society owe you something. You don't understand or care what’s happening to others. You don’t see that things are just happening in the world; they're not happening to you

You probably think that when somebody does something that pisses you off, they did that just to piss you off, or because they don't like you. You think that you’re the center of their universe rather than they’re the center of their universe. That makes you more likely to take things personally. That’s an external focus and the opposite of keeping the focus on yourself. 

The Serenity prayer reminds us to seek the courage to change the things we can (us and our internal world) and accept things we cannot change (others and the external world). You can’t change the internal world if you’re not focused on it. You can’t change the external world, period. 

If you want a life where you feel more in control and have more peace and serenity, consider keeping the focus on yourself. If you need help learning how to do that, you can listen to this podcast and/or read this article.

For more blog posts like this go to

Views: 18


You need to be a member of GNH Community to add comments!

Join GNH Community

Welcome (Bienvenido, Benvenuto, Powitanie, Bonjour! Willkomme,歡迎, ברוךהבא أهلا وسهلا, Bonvenon) to GNH Community. Traducción de esta página

Si no habla inglés, puede
leer el contenido de este sitio
web haciendo clic en
"Select language" arriba y
eligiendo "Spanish".
El contenido, excepto los
archivos adjuntos, aparecerán en español.


Non-English speaking residents can read the content of this website by clicking on "Select Language" above and picking their preferred language. Once a language is selected all content with the exception of attachments will appear in that language.


Imagine. Inform. Invest. Inspire. Working together to build a stronger community - now and forever.

The Community Foundation office at 70 Audubon Street is open to visitors by appointment only; Foundation staff are available by phone and email Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. to conduct business or to schedule a time to visit. To contact a staff member, view our staff directory.




Open Street Project

An Open Streets Family Reunion: Reflections from the 2018 Open Streets Summit

By Ryan O’Connor, Director of Programs, 8 80 Cities Recently 8 80 Cities wrote a blog post about open streets being a labour of love. That being the case, the 2018 Open Streets Summit in New Orleans felt like a family reunion of sorts. It was rejuvenating to see old and new friends who share our passion for open streets and are working tirelessly to create healthier, happier, and more connected communities across the world. The event, which took place on September 15-16, brought together more than 50 leaders who currently organize open streets programs or are interested in bringing the...

The post An Open Streets Family Reunion: Reflections from the 2018 Open Streets Summit appeared first on Open Streets Project.

Open Streets Summit Draft Agenda

We hope you are getting ready and feel excited about the Open Streets Summit in Gretna/New Orleans! Taking place from September 15-16, 2018, the Summit will feature tours, presentations and networking opportunities with open streets champions and organizers from across the continent. Attendees will learn about the nuts and bolts of starting or scaling up open streets programs, including: Route design and planning Partnerships with business and officials Social inclusion Safety and logistics Marketing and promotion Program evaluation through measurable goals and metrics If you haven’t done it yet, click here to register for the Open Streets Summit only or...

The post Open Streets Summit Draft Agenda appeared first on Open Streets Project.

Open Streets Summit Speakers Announced!

The Open Streets Project is proud to announce that Ed Solis from Viva Calle (San Jose, CA), Romel Pascual from CicLAvia (Los Angeles, CA), Jaymie Santiago and Charles Brown from New Brunswick Ciclovia will join us as speakers for the 2018 Open Streets Summit in New Orleans and Gretna! Taking place from September 15-16 2018, the Summit will feature: Behind the scenes tour of the City of Gretna’s inaugural open streets program. Workshops, presentations, and networking opportunities with open streets champions and organizers from across the continent. Training and inspiration for both -novice and experienced- open streets organizers and supporters...

The post Open Streets Summit Speakers Announced! appeared first on Open Streets Project.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation

“Lifting As We Climb”: In South Minneapolis, a Historic Restoration Heals

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, one South Minneapolis community convulsed in pain and suffered massive destruction. On Juneteenth this year, it celebrates the fruition of a project that speaks volumes about community agency and ownership, and how support from intermediaries, including LISC, can be profoundly transformative in building back stronger, and more equitably, than ever before.

D.C. Seniors Find a Supportive Home in New Affordable Assisted Living Community, with Help from LISC

A $2.1 million predevelopment loan from LISC helped Gragg Cardona Partners build The Residences at Kenilworth Park, an affordable housing complex adjacent to a wetlands preserve in Northeast D.C. offering supportive services for Medicaid-eligible and other qualified elderly residents 60 and older. The development meets high-quality accessibility standards and provides on-site certified nurses and aides, access to nature, community and nutritious food, among many other keys to well-being.

Pain into Purpose: Community Violence Intervention Workers Tell It Like It Is

For the second year in a row, the Department of Justice, in partnership with LISC, brought together hundreds of community violence intervention practitioners from across the country to share their experiences and insights on the front lines of gun violence and trauma. Their stories and wisdom are reshaping narratives about victimhood and perpetrators, and helping implement solutions to create safer, healthier communities.

© 2024   Created by Lee Cruz.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service