Living your life to suit others may not create as much personal joy as focusing solely on yourself. Neglecting your desires and needs can hold you back, affect your mental health, and leave you drained over time.
Some may think that focusing on yourself is egotistical; however, it’s a vital form of self-love. If putting others before yourself is something you’ve always done, it can be challenging to get out of the habit.
This article will help you learn how to focus on yourself and not others by understanding why you do, the benefits of focusing on yourself more, and how to start.
- Why Do We Focus on Others?
- Benefits of Focusing More on Yourself
- How to Focus on Yourself and Not Others
- Make Yourself a Priority
Why Do We Focus on Others?
Putting others before ourselves is a trait that is innate for many of us. And we do it for several reasons. Here are some common reasons why we do this to help you understand the behavior better.
It’s Human Nature
Focusing on others, even occasionally, is a part of human nature. Even the most self-centered person would probably still enjoy helping someone. Humans enjoy giving to others as it activates pleasure areas in the brain and creates social connections and trust. Selfless behavior releases endorphins and boosts happiness for you and the person you help.
Feeling useful is a solid motivation to help others as it fulfills one of our human needs. It develops social bonds that can help remedy isolation and loneliness.
It Addresses the Bigger Picture
It could be that you’d prefer to give (and help make someone else’s life better) than receive because you’re confident you’ll be supported in your time of need. Therefore, you have a strong sense of duty and responsibility to help others.
It Helps to Give Your Life Direction
You may feel like your life is like Groundhog Day, and you exist without a purpose, repeating the same thing every day. In searching for life’s meaning, you may believe that your contribution to the world is to be helpful to others. Once you figure out what you have to offer the world, it may become your life’s mission. Then your purpose in life will become clear.
It Helps You Put Your Problems in Perspective
Many people focus on helping people as a form of self-motivation, as supporting others can make you feel better about yourself. It’s an ideal way to distract yourself from negative self-talk and personal problems. If you’re having a bad day or going through a rough patch, it can be helpful to focus on others instead of dwelling on your issues.
A Want or Need to Be Liked
The social side of humans evolved from the need for survival through cooperation and being liked equated to being fed and protected. The more you help people, the more they’ll be fond of you. However, a fixation on getting people’s approval at the expense of yourself may affect how you live your life.
Benefits of Focusing More on Yourself
Focusing on others too much can hold you back and lead to burnout and exhaustion. Here are some benefits when you focus on yourself and not others.
It Helps You Determine What You Want Out of Life
Making time to focus on yourself is vital to identifying how you want your life to be and how to get there. More time for yourself means you can work on your goals to achieve the life you want. You’ll become more self-aware of your strengths and weaknesses and determine how to improve.
You can justify focusing on yourself more when you’re busy creating the life you want.
It Keeps You Motivated and Independent
Focusing on yourself and having things to look forward to in life can help you to stay motivated to continue working on your goals. Seeing the progress you’ve made will encourage you to keep going.
Focusing on what makes you happy makes it easier to dispel negative feelings like loneliness, and your mental health will improve significantly. Being more independent prevents you from relying on others and being disappointed if they don’t support you.
It Can Prevent Feelings of Failure
“Stop comparing yourself to other people; you are an original. We are all different, and it’s okay.” – Motivational author Joyce Meyer.
As people share the best bits of their lives on social media, it’s natural for others to believe those people have a perfect life. And while that may be true, it’s easy to start comparing yourself with another person’s social media presence. By comparing yourself to others, you create unrealistic life expectations. Everyone’s journey is different.
Focusing on how great you think someone else’s life is and using that assumption to gauge how well you’re doing is a terrible idea. Comparing yourself to others may cause jealousy, frustration, and unhappiness. By focusing on yourself more, you’ll become too busy to compare yourself with others.
How to Focus on Yourself and Not Others
Focusing on yourself more is easier said than done. Here are some actionable steps to ensure you care for your personal needs.
Create More Solitude
Start to develop more time alone to break away from your habit. Remember that we are all social creatures, and you don’t need to cut yourself off from everyone completely. However, it is essential to create more alone time, so you have the time to focus on yourself. You may find it hard at first, but it’s necessary, so keep going.
Here are some ways to establish more time alone:
- Create a suitable space to be alone. That may include locking a door or going somewhere that you can’t be found for a while.
- Carve out some alone time and incorporate it into your daily routine. For example, walking alone is a great way to clear your mind and focus on yourself.
- Delegate tasks and shift your jobs around to gain maximum alone time.
- Overcome the guilt of needing to spend time alone.
Try Not to Worry About What Others Think
Being concerned about what others think is another innate and necessary skill for our survival. However, it becomes a problem when we’re hyper-focused on their opinions. Worrying too much about what others think is a waste of your time and energy. To be successful, redirect your focus solely to what you want to do.
Learn to Say “No”
Learning to say “No” is an excellent way to put yourself first, but it’s something you may struggle with. Remember, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you have to. Consider your boundaries and work on how to deliver your “No.” Furthermore, work on avoiding feelings of guilt after saying “No.”
Here are some ways you can learn how to say “No”:
- Establish your boundaries. It’s easier to say “No” to someone when you have a reason. A reason as simple as you’ll be indulging in some “you time” is as good as any.
- Give yourself permission to say “No.” Saying “No” sometimes is okay, and you’re not required to say “Yes.”
- Be ready for potential persuasion or manipulation techniques. Some people can’t take “No” for an answer and may try to change your mind. Stay firm; your “No” means “No.”
- Practice saying “No.” You could do this in the mirror so you’ll feel less nervous when the time comes.
Learn more about yourself to develop a better relationship with yourself. This is important in breaking free from the habit of focusing on others.
During your rediscovery, evaluate yourself and your life. Identify what you love doing, what you could live without, what you want out of life, and where you are currently. Answering questions like these will help you rediscover yourself and develop a personal relationship.
Take a Break From Social Media
Consider taking a break from social media to remove your focus on how people present their lives. Here’s how:
- Decide how long your break will be.
- Decide on the best time to take a break. Hint: there’s no time like the present.
- Decide which platforms you want to take a break from. For example, platforms like Facebook and Instagram may take up more of your focus. At the same time, you’ll need LinkedIn to find work.
- Create a schedule to reduce your social media use gradually.
Alternatively, you could make the break permanent and deactivate your account. People you wish to keep in touch with can arrange to meet in person or over a private video call when it’s convenient for you.
Practice Self Care
Taking time for self-care and permitting yourself to do less can help you manage stress and prevent exhaustion.
Many people, unfortunately, feel unworthy of self-care, and some may feel as though they don’t need it. However, it’s essential to take the focus and time spent on others to focus on restoration. You’ll be happier, have more energy, and accomplish more when you practice caring for yourself.
Here are some tips to improve your self-care game and the other ways you’ll benefit.
- Take care of your body through regular exercise. Just 30 minutes of exercise can help boost your mood and improve your health.
- Do something you love. It can be any activity that helps you to unwind, relax, and recharge your batteries, like going to the spa or spending time with your pet.
- Make sleep a priority. Develop a schedule and stick to it to ensure you get enough sleep.
- Eat healthy meals regularly and keep hydrated. A balanced diet and plenty of water can help improve your focus and energy levels.
- Practice gratitude. Remind yourself every day of the things you are grateful for.
Fall in Love With Yourself
The only person you’re with 24/7/365 is you. And it’s easy to live on autopilot, not embracing that you’re just as important as those you focus on. Consider whether you treat yourself the same way you do others. The answer will most likely be a confident “No.”
The most important relationship you will develop in your lifetime is the one with yourself. Consider the following about the people you focus on:
- Are they there for you the same way you are for them?
- Can they change your life the way you can?
You are several people in one, and you can only be as strong and unique as you believe you are. Prioritize yourself by loving yourself unconditionally; everything else will fall by the wayside.
Make Yourself a Priority
A desire to help others is natural, but focusing on others too much can become stressful, take a toll on your mental health, and make you feel like you’re stuck. Success depends on your ability to recognize what you’re good at and what you need to work on to achieve your idea of happiness. You can only do this when you focus on yourself.
The best way to learn to focus on yourself and not others is to practice self-focused behavior. Learning to say “No,” disconnecting from social media, and practicing self-care are all great ways to remain present and focus on creating happiness.
You’ll naturally focus more on yourself when you realize that you don’t need to focus on others to be happy.