How much time do you spend considering the lives of others versus contemplating your own life choices? Do you go through life with thoughts swirling around that make you feel anxious or depressed? Where is your worry focused? Are you doing more to meet the needs of others or are you trying to get your needs meet by others? Do you worry that other people are unhappy and blame you for their feelings? Do you blame yourself because other's have those feelings and get frustrated that you can't change them? Are you missing your own life because you're trying to live according to the wants and needs of others? Or are you so focused on yourself that you totally miss the world and relationships around you?
In psychology there are two terms that define the situations above: Introjection and Projection and they have to do with how you perceive the world and you in it. Your perception is your truth, beliefs, based in your understandings.
Introjection is looking inward. When you focus so much on yourself you miss everything around you. You don't know how to take time to smell the roses or breathe in the fresh air. You don't feel the ground beneath you because you are totally "in your head" and not connected to your environment. You are unaware of other people in your sphere of influence (home, work, friendships) and can miss everything that does not affect you directly...until it does. Then you are accused of being insensitive, unaware, avoidant, or even abusive. If you react to the accusations defensively there may be some truth to the allegations, and you might consider working on paying more attention to the world around you. If you don't react or feel a need to defend yourself choosing instead to withdraw from those around you, you may be living a life limited by your avoidance. This is unhealthy and often leads to more isolation, disconnect, and withdrawal.
Projection is looking outward. When you are so focused on the world and those around you that you totally miss you: your needs, your wants, your desires, your passion, your health, your wealth, and your happiness all suffer because of lack of attention to self. Many people think that this is what service looks like. But when you expel all your energy onto everyone and everything around you, there will be nothing left within you. Soon, you'll feel burnout, fatigued, and exhaustion that can lead to anxiety and depression. Performance become the measure of success and when you can't perform to the same level anymore, you'll start to feel like a failure. Other's around you will begin to complain because everything you once did for them is not getting done. You've enabled everyone so much they have an expectation that you are doing all their work (laundry, cooking, cleaning, shopping, working, etc) would continue forever. When you can't keep up the pace, they'll notice how it is affecting them and may begin to resent you and criticize you, which only adds to your feelings of failure, low self-esteem, and hopelessness. Keep this up long enough and you will completely shut down, get sick, or may develop a serious disease that stops you in your tracks.
The solution to these two problems is the same: Balance. When you are out of balance you may overdo for others and miss your own needs. When you set limits to what you give away in comparison to what you give to yourself, you are able to give from a place of abundance. When you can allow others to do the same for themselves they learn to be self-sufficient. Share the load of responsibility with your family, friends, and coworkers. When you are responsible for your own health and happiness you are less dependent on others. Teaching this model to your children allows them to grow up more confident in their own abilities and less dependent on others to provide for them.
4 "Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone,
without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load."