I used to understand myself as having to be "out there" and "ahead of things".
Either out there managing other people's emotions, moods, or their perceptions of me, or ahead of things doing everything I could to avoid things turning out any way but perfect.
I did this at home growing up. I did this in my marriage. I did this at work. I did this in life. I did this in community service.
I don't think - aside from a few friendships where I felt safe - that I had many spaces in my entire 40+ year life where I wasn't doing this.
All this being out there and ahead of things was the only way I knew how to be as a people pleaser, a controller, a planner, an over-thinker.
When I went through my divorce and hit rock bottom, I realized that being out there and ahead of things meant that I had no idea how to be "in here" or "with things".
I didn't even know what "in here" - the energy of my own self, connection with my own truth, my own voice - felt like. Nor did I know what living "with things" - in the present, in the current reality - felt like.
My only experience was living Other-Focused, whether other people (teachers, family, spouse, etc.), other values (society, country, etc.), or other times (past or future).
I had no idea that we are to be Center-Focused and not Other-Focused.
Being Center-Focused means that our opinions, our intuitions, our experience and our values guide who we are and what we do. It doesn't mean that we don't consult with others or ask for opinions to do our research. It simply means that all of that data is brought to the final decision maker: ourselves.
Being Center-Focused means that we choose to apply our energy, focus, time and thoughts to ourselves first. It doesn't mean that we don't support and help others. It simply means that we do so only after we have attended to ourselves.
Being Center-Focused means that we find ourselves centered in this time, in the present, first. It doesn't mean that we don't think of the past, nor plan for the future. It simply means that we always do so in the context of the present.
Being Center-Focused means that we are accessing our Center which is where Creator/Universe/God resides and where we gain our energy, our focus, our direction and our peace. It doesn't mean that we don't learn from proven knowledge, opinions of those we trust, or in sacred community. It simply means that we always do so in the context of what we have found in our Center with God first.
This concept of being Center-Focused can be confronting. We've been told that to be Center-Focused is to be selfish, to be negligent of others, to be inconsiderate. This is especially told to us in the context of family whether as parents, as children or as spouses. And this is told to both women and women, though with different emphasis for each.
What I have found is that being Center-Focused is absolutely not selfish, as I've seen as a mother, daughter, sister and community member. In fact I would say that being Center-Focused and teaching others through example to be the same, is the biggest gift we can give ourselves and others.
I began to learn a few years ago, through trial and error, how to Center-Focused and I've seen how its significantly improved all my relationships in my life.
I learned how to clearly ask for what I need based on my connection to my Center, instead of passive aggressively trying to get my needs met.
I learned to manage my own emotional state from my Center, instead of trying to get others to do so for me or trying to manage or guess at another's emotional state.
I learned how to bring my energy and thoughts back to my Center, instead of trying to fix the other person or manage their lives (even, or especially, as a coach as I wrote here.)
I learned to check in with my Center regularly to find out what I need, what would bring me peace, what would turn me on, and what would move me closer to my goals, instead of following outside opinions or "shoulds" from myself or others.
I gave myself and other people permission to connect with our Centers and act on what we need without guilt, even if there was an impact on the other person. Where the impact was an issue from either of us, we discussed it calmly, looking for a common solution.
I learned how to bring myself back to the present moment in my Center which is where peace and intuition reside, rather than regretting the past or over-thinking about the future.
This change in me has positively transformed my relationships with my daughter, family, friends, work collaborators and community where we are working from and staying connected with our Centers.
A world where each of us support and are supported by our parents, children, family, friends, faith communities and society at large to be Center-Focused would be a much healthier and stronger world.
It would allow us each space and support to make solid decisions and remain connected with Center if those decisions need to change, know how to state our needs to ourselves and those around us, know how to act in accordance with our values in who we are and what we do in the world, know what brings us happiness and are working to create it in our world, and know how to not be influenced by peers, society or media if its not in alignment with our values or our Center. This is truly a key foundation for a transformed society.