Someone told me the other day that I was self-centered. So I decided to look up the definition of the word to see if perhaps they were right.
Self-centered: 1. concerned solely or chiefly with one’s own interests, welfare, etc.; engrossed in self; selfish; egotistical. 2. independent, self-sufficient. 3. centered in oneself or itself.
Okay, let me start with #1. Am I concerned solely about myself? Hmmm. I spend at least 40 hours a week putting someone else’s needs before my own. And that is just one person. So if there are 168 hours in a week, less 56 for sleeping, that gives me 112 hours to be awake. So if I were only interested in that one person besides myself, I would be thinking only of me 72 hours a week. Which would be 10.29 hours a day. My husband works 12 hour shifts, five days a week so if I spend 1 hour a day on his needs that brings me to 9.5 hours to think just of me a day. Ok, I usually spend 30 minutes a day praying for others…down to 9 hours. I am usually always available to babysit, visit with a friend, help someone in need, open my house to anyone needing to talk or get away from their struggles and of course, because these things aren’t weekly I can’t put an hour value on these. But let’s just say I have 6 hours everyday just for me. That is 25% of my life.
#2. Independent and self-sufficient. Guilty as charged. I HATE asking for help. Not because I think I can do it all but because I don’t want to put anyone out or take them away from something else. I put their needs before mine (real or imagined).
#3. Centered in oneself. I suppose I am. I only have so much energy to expend. I can give only so much of myself before my body physically starts to breakdown. And I can only have so much of other people’s burdens in my brain before it too, starts to break down.
So how do we decide between the negative “self-centered” and the healthy “centered-self”? Do others get to decide which label to attach to us? Is there a percentage of time that I should spend on others that negates the time spent on myself? What if I give my best to some and only what I have left to others? How do I decide who gets what from me? And what about me? Are we only supposed to get the crumbs of our life energy? I try to live as Christ would have me live. I give as much of myself to others as I humanly (in the condition I am in today) possible. But there are times I have to stop and put myself first or I will have nothing to give anyone else. I get so frustrated that other people seem to know what I should be doing better than I do. Can they see into my soul, my heart, my brain. Do they get a daily printout of all the things I have done, thought, prayed about? STOP LABELING ME! Stop thinking you know everything about me. There is only One who does and I strive daily to be as He would have me. Unless you have gotten a message from Him directly, do not attempt to alter me. He will change me as He sees fit and I WILL listen to His voice. You know, I may not be the person you see me as. I am His and I listen for His will for my life.
Conclusion? Yes, I do spend time on myself, for myself, about myself because I am worthy of consideration, too. I have needs the same as you do and sometimes, yes I am going to say it…I PUT MYSELF FIRST. So, I guess you can add self-centered to my litany of labels others have placed on me. But I know the label I am most proud of and not matter what you say about me or to me, that label will stand the test of time and for all eternity. I AM A CHILD OF THE LIVING GOD AND I AM LOVED BY HIM JUST BECAUSE I AM.