Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A-Z Challenge: K - Keep the Focus on Yourself

Keep the Focus on Yourself sounds so selfish, doesn't it? It's one of the slogans from the 12-step programs, and it was one of the hardest for me to get. I grew up with a mother who told me I shouldn't try to win games because the other people would feel bad if I won. How weird is that?

Keeping the focus on yourself doesn't mean become self-centered, self-absorbed and narcissistic. It means focus on on how you feel and don't try to figure out anyone else. It doesn't mean ignore those around you who are in pain, it means pay attention to your own needs and don't overstep your bounds. It doesn't mean forget about what you promised someone else you'd do, it means paying attention to your own limitations and honoring them. If you promise something, make sure you aren't damaging yourself by accomplishing it - think it through before agreeing to do it. But if you did agree and you find you can't follow through, be honest with yourself and the other person. Re-negotiate the terms if possible.

Since I didn't learn living lessons from my folks, the slogans helped me tremendously. By keeping the focus on me, I don't lose myself the way I used to. And I can be much more present for those in my life who love and need me.

How about you?


Tabitha Bird said...

You are so wise. I wish you were my mom :))

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

This is something I rarely do...and seems like such a smart thing to do. Thanks, Karen, for the tip!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

There is a saying which I firmly believe in and expereienced"You Can Be Everything To Others
But Nothing To Yourself."
I have now focused more on my own needs a little bit more but still here should someone need my help.


Anne K. Albert said...

Keep focus on yourself. It's always a stuggle, yet so vital. Kudos for sharing.

Nicole Mc said...

Love this!

Sharon Lippincott said...

I was stunned several years ago to discover that a couple of people I thought had always had perfect lives, i.e. cheerleader, boyfriends, good grades ... they struggled with all these same issues. I guess we don't call it Earth School for nothing!

Anonymous said...

Wise words, and words we often forget. Thankyou for sharing.

Jules said...

Wonderful post Karen! For me, it's hard to focus when you have lost your sight. Baby steps :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Amy Wood said...

That is a great lesson!

Michelle Gregory said...

i'm learning to take care of myself. thankfully i have a wonderful husband who reminds me when i forget. my children are pretty good at reminding me too.

Karen Walker said...

Tab, you are hereby adopted!!!!
Elizabeth, I think this is especially true for busy moms
Yvonne, it's never too late.
Anne and Nicole, thank you
Sharon, so true. The grass may not be greener...
Damyantiwrites, thank you
Jules, are you kidding?
Amy, thanks
Michelle, my hubby helps me as well. Glad you have such support.

Darlene said...

Very wise words. Thanks for sharing.

Helen Ginger said...

Love the idea of keeping the focus on yourself. I think women especially overlook this. They set themselves aside for job, family, home, and just about anything.

You are a wise woman.

Anonymous said...

Good reminder that if we don't take care of us first then the rest of our desires won't happen the way we want or need too, either. Thanks for stopping by my blog! A-Z has been a great awareness challenge for many of us!!!

Susan Oloier said...

This is such a centering thing to do. If we do not care for self first, I believe we are unable to fully be present for others.
Thank you for sharing this.

Karen Walker said...

Darlene, you are so welcome.
Toll House Cookies, yes, it's true.
Susan, yes, centering is key to being able to be present for ourselves AND for others.

Joanne said...

What an interesting concept, that if we don't keep an eye on ourselves, we risk losing ourselves. It's almost a form of mothering, of tending, to our inner selves.

Karen Walker said...

Helen, yes, women especially lose their focus on themselves, particularly when we become moms.
Joanne, it is a form of tending to ourselves. Very insightful.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Excellent post. It reminds me of oxygen masks on an airplane. We're always told to put the mask on our own faces before tending to the people around us. We aren't much good to help them if we pass out before we get around to sucking in that air, and we aren't much good to meet the needs of others in our day-to-day lives if we aren't conscious of how their needs interface with our own.

Langley said...

Karen, this is beautiful. I struggle with this concept on a daily basis. Thanks for an inspirational reminder.

I’m A-Z Blogging on Langley Writes about Writing and Langley’s Rich and Random Life

Karen Walker said...

Susan, that's so true - I've used that analogy before.
Langley, thanks for stopping by and for the comment.

Talli Roland said...

What a great reminder, Karen! It's hard to do this, isn't it? But to trot out an old cliche, we can't make others happy unless we're happy ourselves.

Lauracea said...

Very difficult to do - but my husband's always telling me to do that very thing - to stop taking on so much. OK - I'll pay attention.

Lucy Adams said...

Another great post. Thank you.


Plain Jane said...

Thanks Karen...nurses need to be continually reminded of this. They spend all day taking care of patients and forget to eat, breathe, or recover themselves.

PS. I have seen your little icon on other blogs I follow and always thought you were doing bicep curls with a barbell. Thanks for visiting me over at Plain Jane.

Brianna said...

This is an important lesson I want to teach my daughter. I want her to be confident in herself, to be concerned with her own well-being but not to the exclusion of others. It's a fine line.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Karen,

Wow, I really enjoy your blog! I'm your newest follower. Thanks so much for stopping by to say hello, and it is very nice to meet you too.

Kathy M.

Karen Walker said...

Plain Jane, really? bicep curls. LOL. I hate weights and never do them. It's a microphone. I'm singing
Brianna, what an important gift to give your daughter. I envy her.
Oregon Gifts....thank you - ditto.

Kris Yankee said...

What a great post. I never keep the focus on myself, but on others. I need to practice this more. Thanks for reminding me!

Jolene Perry said...

Well said Karen.

Ann said...

Wonderful words to live by Karen. If practiced will make a happier and productive life.

Anonymous said...

Good advice. thanks for dropping in on thefeatherednest

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Think it through before agreeing to it - wow, those are wise words.

Linda H. said...

As a wife and mother, I am guilty of sometimes putting my needs aside. But I've learned that if it is very important for me, then I've got to put me first.

Better is Possible said...

Good wisdom. Thanks for the reminder.

randomdanni said...

I've given you an award! You can stop by my blog to pick it up! :D
Random Thoughts By Danni

Karen Walker said...

Kris, good luck. It's hard, but worth it.
Jolene and Ann, thanks you two.
Mybabyjohn, you are welcome
Diane, coming from you that means a lot.
Linda H., glad you realize that.
Better is Possible, you're welcome.
Randomdanni, wow, thanks so much. I am really honored, but there's no way I can do what is required to pass it along during the challenge.

Wendy G. Ewurum said...

One of my self coined slogans is:
Loving myself is the most selfless of acts.
Through this slogan I'm trying to sum up your sentiment here. Thank you Karen.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Thanks for the comment Karen, That's my secret happiness....going down children's slides, my family despair of me but I enjoy it.


Siv Maria said...

My mom used to say the same thing. Nice to "meet you" as well. Thanks for stopping by, looks like I found a nice place to explore:)

Joe Richardson said...

In part, I think you're saying, "Know when to say no." I still struggle with that. But I'm getting better at it.

And I'm better for it.

L: Your Library: A Tale Not Told in Books