Self-centeredness (Egocentric)
July 28th, 2009 by Liza Wiemer

Helpful Tip:

Compliment others and watch how they respond.  You will receive more joy from giving attention, than from seeking it.  Balance the scale.

1. Do you need to be better than everyone else?
2. Do you hate to lose at anything?
3. Do you cut other people down to feel important or challenge them on ideas to show your point-of-view is better?
4. Do you compare what you have – clothing, car, money – or the way you look to others? Do you feel bad if someone else has more or feel good, if you do?
5. Does constructive criticism make you feel irritated?
6. Do you need to give your opinion on pretty much everything, even when you really have no idea what you’re talking about?
7. Do you butt into other people’s conversations when you are clearly not welcomed?
8. When you give, do you expect something in return?

If you answered yes to most of the self-centered (egocentric) questions, please read the following:

Being self-centered influences your ability to have meaningful relationships with others.  How can you see beyond yourself, your needs, your wants, your desires?

Successful relationships need positive give and take.  I once heard a speaker, Tom Mahas, say, “It is impossible to just breathe out, or just breathe in.  You need to do both to live.”   Someone who is self-centered only breathes in, sucking more and more out of those around him/her.  After awhile, friends get sick of the non-reciprocal relationship.  The self-centered person may have his or her pride, but not friends.

1.  Are you tired of having to live up to such high standards that you feel like quitting?  But you can’t quit, can you – because that would mean FAILURE!

Example:  I once spoke with a student who received straight As on his report card, but wasn’t happy.  If the score was a 92, it should have been a 95.  If it was a 95, it should have been a 100.  The drive to be better was so intense, that this person could never be satisfied, could never celebrate.  When he did receive a perfect score, there was no time for celebrating.  The next test was around the corner.  In examining the issues he realized his negative self-talk came from things he heard from his parents. “Only a 92?  How come it wasn’t a 100?”  It takes strength to let go and be proud of yourself when you sincerely gave it your all.  Did you work hard?  When you know you gave it your best the verbiage – “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,” truly is the meaning of happiness.  Those who practice their skills, give it 100%, and maintain great sportsmanship will end up winning more often than not, will learn from mistakes and rectify them, have a positive outlook without blaming others, and will be perceived by others as a winner!

3.  Have any friends who are naturally in competition with you?   I’m not talking a friendly game of tennis, or a desire to beat you at chess.  Someone who must win all the time.  Poor sportsmanship, can’t lose or has a fit, someone who wants to know your grades, compares himself to others… Maybe this is you.  This type of attitude is directly linked to poor self-esteem.  Anyone who must always be the best at everything and makes no room for anyone else’s success feels really low – though it might seem to be the opposite.  They’re puffed up – full of air.  Just remember, it’s easy to burst a bubble.  Remedy:  Rejoice in other people’s success, lose at friendly games and be gracious, but most important – examine where the need came from to always succeed.  What message have you received from adults, friends, and yourself?

Set clear goals that don’t involve competing against others.  Strive only to do your best.

Examples Situation:

1.  Your father plays baseball with you.  Every time you miss the ball, you’re called butterfingers.  But when you catch the ball, he hardly notices.  “How come you can’t catch a damn ball?” he asks and tells you that you’re going to keep playing until you catch ten in a row.  Of course, it doesn’t happen and he walks away in disgust.   Now you are playing with friends, without thinking you mimic your father’s actions, except you lose again, because no one wants to be your friend.

Solution:  Awareness is the key to change.  What your father did was wrong.  Treat your friends differently – with encouragement and kindness.  You’ll be the better person for it.

If you have an example of a self-centered situation with a solution, please share it with me.  I will consider posting it and you may remain anonymous.  Your comments are encouraged.

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