What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see…
I like talking about you, you, you, you, usually, but occasionally… I wanna talk about me.”
Perhaps the above lyrics to a 2001 Toby Keith song chorus sound familiar to you. It certainly sounds familiar to me! We like to talk about ourselves. We like to be the center of attention. Some of us enjoy being the life of the party; while, others of us just want to be the center of one person’s attention. Either way, we all like to talk about ourselves.
Me, Me, Me, Me, Me, Me, What About Me???!!!
As a relationship coach and a married woman, I’ve become increasingly aware of how often I hear the word ‘me,’ and the phrase ,”What about me?” When I hear someone go off on a, “My significant other isn’t paying enough attention to me!” rant, I know I am listening to the inner screams of a self-seeking heart. And, sometimes those screams are even coming from my own self-seeking heart.
We can give all day long, selflessly to others, but when we are alone with our special someone, suddenly it becomes our right to be loved, pampered, and pursued. Love me. Hold me. Cherish me. Dote on me. Listen to me complain. Be everything for me. Few people are so vocally selfish; but, if we’re honest, most of us can admit to having these thoughts and feelings – even if only occasionally.
Love Your Neighbor as You Love Yourself
The Bible commands us to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves. It could be that God was preaching to the choir; yet, more than likely, He commanded us to focus our attention on others because it does not come naturally to us. We love our own comforts and desire to keep our bodies happy. Full tummies, warm toes, and entertained minds. Even those with low self-esteem (a somewhat new concept we have grown to accept as natural) still seek to please their own bodies.
Have you ever had a neighbor annoy you?
- The neighborhood kids are screaming again! I just want a nap!
- That dog from down the street is using my yard as his own personal bathroom stall… again!!!
- Really?!?! Is it essential that you mow your yard at 7:00am on a Saturday morning?
- If you’re going to have a two-hour conversation with your best friend, can you do it inside your house and not next to my bedroom window at 11:00pm?
Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with good neighbors for most of my life. Before I turned eight, however, I had some significant neighbor problems. The grown-ups were great, but the kids were cruel. Cruel enough that we eventually moved away – a decision I still thank my parents for making.
These neighbors were the kind that plotted to make life miserable for any outsider. Bullies that made it their mission to see you lonely and friendless by turning everyone else against you. Perhaps you had a similar experience. These are the kind of “neighbors” it’s truly difficult to love.
As adults, these neighbors don’t necessarily live beside us, but they are near us at work, church, social functions, and even Walmart; and, it is incredibly hard to care about the needs of those who so flippantly disrespect us, is it not? Yet, God makes it clear in His word that we are to love these people as much as we love ourselves!
Not only are we expected to sacrificially love those in our close circles, but we are to love those who hurt us – even as we love our own bodies. Is there anyone among us who has done this successfully 100% of the time? I doubt it.
Sadly, sometimes the ones who hurt us most are the ones in our close circles – family, friends, and our sweethearts. It’s so difficult to continue loving someone who causes us pain.
What about me? He doesn’t care about me. She doesn’t respect me. Why should I keep giving?
If you are unmarried, I don’t want to give off the impression for a moment that you should continue in a relationship with a harsh, cruel, and unfeeling person. However, if your boyfriend or girlfriend is simply going through a rough patch, or snaps at you when tired or stressed, it is important that you practice sacrificial love. Marriage will require it of you – I can personally guarantee! If you want to be content in life and love, you will need to lose the phrase, “What about me?”
The Joy of Forgetting About Me
I have found the greatest joy when I stop asking, “What about me?” That inward focus always leads me to discontentment. No one will ever be able to give me enough to satisfy my selfish heart. I will always have unmet desires. When I focus on them, I become angry at the one (i.e., Eric) who is “supposed” to fulfill those “needs.”
However, when I forget about myself, look deeply into his heart, and consider what he’s going through and what he needs, I find myself happy to give. There is joy in providing someone with love and devotion. In fact, some of my heart’s desires are met through giving. I’m always happiest when I’m seeking to make Eric’s life better. I’m never joyful when I’m recounting all the ways he’s failed me.
For the month of February, I decided to give Eric a daily valentine containing a coupon pertaining to his love language. It has been such a joy to watch his face light up and to have the opportunity to minister to my hardworking man. I’m not expecting anything in return and there is such an incredible freedom in that.
Give it a try. Stop thinking about yourself for a while. Decide to give and give, even when it is not what you’d prefer to do, and see how your outlook improves. See if your heart is lighter. See if you experience love on a deeper level. We think you will. ~smile~
When’s the last time you did something selfless for someone and felt indescribable joy in the process?