Self-centered- Engrossed in oneself and one’s own affairs; selfish
Self-focused- An ability a person has to direct conscious attention on themselves, thoughts, desires and emotions.
Are we self-centered or are we self-focused? Being self-centered sounds like a pretty cool gig at first when we consider the narrow scope of attention and control over a lack of self driven nature. We might end up a bit contrite if we allow ourselves to remain self-centered for long but I honestly think it is easy to imagine a large portion of our ideal day being spent wrapped up into us and just us without a single care or concern over the affairs of others.
So what about being self-focused? In my experience this is the ability to direct our attention vs. walking around being completely drowned in it. If we can achieve focus through knowing what information in our lives is important and what is not we can pay attention to only the necessary and discard the nonsense.
So what is the big difference Dom? Well, maintaining the ability to address (important) external stimuli and sift through the less-important at a later time is an important trait of self-focus. Conversely, taking a self-centered approach would eliminate the important process of considering how our actions might affect the environment of others (consideration). Taking into consideration the affect over others is both polite and respectful, so if we can afford those to others, the reward back is often more plentiful than the effort.
Sometimes that cannot be avoided or it is simply most appropriate to ignore the consequences of our actions to others. Examples of acceptable cases are career competition, sports participation, and business deals. It is impossible to be a “good” person all the time when we are trying to be the best person we can be. Trying to be perfect will obviously lead to disaster so what is our best option when assessing our values and deciding the best approach?
Moral flexibility. Decide when it is the best time to put ourselves first before the needs of people who are doing the exact same. Either way, paying attention to ourselves first and only ourselves should be the goal of our successful self. Realizing how our actions might affect others is what decides whether we are carrying that out in the direction of self-focused or self-centered. This will also depend of course, upon our perceptions and perspective.
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