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Yay! It’s 2020! It’s a new year and THIS year is going to be different. Somehow…it’s going to be different. Granted, every month is a new month. Every week is a new week and every day a new day but somehow a new year…well, THAT’S the magic. That’s what will enable us to change things.

Let’s say, however, that there is something to the new year and a reason to change. Now, your previous hurts will most often preclude you from being able to change the behavior you so desperately want to modify. Regardless, many people still try. What I’ve noticed this year is something very different. Every year you see a lot of the same resolutions. Some want to lose weight, drink less, get in shape, read more, travel, learn to cook, etc. the list goes on. But THIS year, I noticed a theme…a very unfortunate theme.

Self care! The theme I saw time and again on social media was “Self Care!” It’s the year to focus on yourself. It’s the year to look inward. It’s the year to stop caring for others and start caring for yourself. Certainly not a bad thing…or is it?

Before you read another word, know this. I want you and you deserve to be cared for physically, spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally. We all need to have our needs met. If, however, our focus goes to only (or primarily) meeting our needs then we will run into two problems.

  1. On a micro scale, it’s ineffective. If you, as an individual, try to meet your own needs they will feel hollow. We were created to be in a relationship(s). As a Christian I believe in a triune God (The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). They are in perfect relationship with one another. How could I believe that I can exist all on my own? When one gives up having their needs met by others they begin to micromanage relationships and any needs that get met do not satiate them. If you like hugs and need one, go up to someone close to you who doesn’t like to hug and embrace them and see how it feels. Beyond affection, this is true for other emotional needs as well.
  2. On a macro scale, it’s dangerous. If each and every person became more and more inward focused and forgot about their fellow man our world would become increasingly cold and distant. How can a society advance, heal, or nurture if it’s members are only looking inward? We would continue to create the need to take care of ourselves as there would be fewer meeting others needs in healthy relationships.

This is nothing new. Going back to the garden of Eden (whether you believe it to be literal or figurative) the serpent enticed Adam and Eve to focus on themselves and not God. It’s the same deception today. Look at something as simply as the explosion of cell phone (or can I say self own?) use. Rather, than look up and see others we are consumed with a device that releases dopamine when someone (who could be standing right next to us) “likes” something about our lives. We are still having our needs “met” by others but now without interacting with them in person. We ignore those nearest to us while searching edification from those far away.

So, go rather than focus on self, go and be selfless. Give of yourself, yes one more time. Find a friend that will give back to you as you give to others. Be open, honest, and vulnerable with your needs with your closest loved ones. Trust that God is aware of your needs and is reaching out to your loved ones to get them met. The alternative is lonely and ineffective. To focus only on yourself not only deprives others but renders us still needy as well.

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