Americans: More Self-Centered… and More LonelyBy Dr. Margaret Paul
April 25, 2011
I find the research very interesting that says that the more self-centered we are, the lonelier we are.
Today's hit songs aren't about "us"-they're just about "me," a study finds. Researchers examined Billboard's top 10 songs in the US each year from 1980 to 2007, and found that "popular music lyrics now include more words related to a focus on the self". Using a word-counting program, they discovered that first-person plural pronouns like "we" and "us" were used less and less over the years; first-person singular pronouns like "I" and "me," on the other hand, grew more common, Miller-McCune reports.
Meanwhile, the use of words tied to antisocial behavior or anger - "hate," "kill" - increased, while words linked to social activity - "talk," "share" - decreased. The same was true for words about positive emotions, like "love" and "nice." It all echoes "recent evidence showing increases in US loneliness and psychopathology over time," says a researcher. It's also worrying, writes Tom Jacobs, when you consider recent research that says songs with antisocial messages can prompt "aggressive thoughts and hostile feelings, while those [about] peace and love can increase empathy."
I find it ironic that the ego wounded self believes that being more self-centered leads to anything good.
Many do not understand the vast difference between being self-centered and being self-responsible and self-caring.
The wounded self says: "I have to focus on me and get all I can or I will lose out."
The loving Adult says: "I want to focus on taking responsibility for my own feelings and actions so that I can do what I came to the planet to do - express my gifts and share my love with others."
The wounded self says: "I deserve to get all I can and I will do whatever I can to get others to give me what I want. I'm entitled."
The loving Adult says: "It's my responsibility to give myself the love I didn't receive as I was growing up."
The wounded self says: "Getting all I can will fill me up and take away my emptiness and loneliness."
The loving Adult says: "Filling myself with Divine love and sharing that with others is what life is all about. If I feel lonely around self-centered, self-absorbed people, I can choose to be around caring, loving people instead."
Many of the people I work with believe that taking responsibility for themselves is selfish; they don't yet understand that selfishness is when you expect others to give themselves up for you.
It is heartbreaking that we are so very off-track in our society.
While the "me" lyrics reflect our current society, they also contribute to the problems, as the above research shows. Adolescents especially are often deeply affected by music and lyrics. Conscious, caring singers and songwriters can have a major impact on bringing about more empathy and less aggression.
If you are not feeling passionate about your life, consider that you may be stuck trying to get something like money, attention, approval, or sex - believing that these externals will fill you up and make you feel happy and worthy. Yet happiness and self-worth come from only one thing: love. And contrary to what you might currently believe, the love that deeply fills is not what you get from others - it's the gift of Spirit that fills your heart when your heart is open to loving yourself and others.
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|Selfishness versus Self-Responsibility|
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Notice what opens your heart and soul. Nature, your garden, your child, your pet? Your grandchild, your creativity, music, art, laughter? Walking, running, sharing, loving? Sexuality, sensuality, affection, holding? What melts the wall, enlivens your being, tickles your tummy, and fills your heart? Notice, and make time for that which opens your being.
By Dr. Margaret Paul