Outward focus: a perspective defined by incorporating the external world (and all its inhabitants) into our thoughts. I believe that there are profound benefits with this mindset.
~ less neuroticism, as an outward focus shifts our spinning minds away from negative self- talk
~ the acknowledgement that every individual is the main character of their own play
~ more empathy, as we recognize similarities between us
~ progression for groups and communities, as we focus our energy on the collective good
Our minds can be scary places. Have you ever repeated a whisper a self doubt until it became a battle cry of failure? I'll share an example. Many of my loved ones are stressed when they arrive home from work. They can be short and unexpressive in their speech. If I interact with them in this state, I am likely to take it personally. I wonder "what did I do wrong? did I offend them? it was probably because of X,Y, or Z that happened two weeks ago. or maybe they don't want me around at all. maybe I'm just getting in the way...." And so my thoughts devolve. None of these ponderings have any grounding in reality, and they are all self focused. I am making their story of work stress about me. This is neither logical nor beneficial for relationships.
An alternative scenario... Instead of drowning in self- doubt, I consider the perspective of my loved ones. I know that their days are long and taxing. I know that home is the place they prefer to unwind. I respect their need to socially withdrawal, and am honored that they feel comfortable enough to do so in my presence. This eliminates my undue stress, and removes any burden on them to comfort my insecurities. It is not always about me- that is a beautiful fact.
Everything seems worse in our own heads. Before we speak our fears aloud, they take on the DMT quality of dreams: wildly spinning, without the grounding context of reality. The next time you find yourself anxious about hypotheticals, try confiding in a loved one. I promise you, an immense sigh of relief awaits. This is because reality provides perspective. We are but blips of time on a spinning ball in the middle of space... And how small are struggles are. I don't mean this flippantly. Challenge and heartache are real, potent emotions. They mean something, as do our tiny lives. The point is this: there is a grander context. Allow the immensity of everything else to diminish the potency of your problems.
Think of how much progress we could make as a global community, if every individual shifted their focus outward. Compassion instead of greed. Collaboration, rather than self- indulgence. I envision a world with people who consider each other, the Earth, and other species. I believe that this would help alleviate suffering on a personal, interpersonal, and global scale. Grandiose, you say? Sure, but you have to dream it to manifest is. Thus I turn my focus outward, toward all of you.