05/14/2015 10:07 am ET Updated May 14, 2016

Is Your Focus Within or On Others?

Many of us, as we were growing up, learned to ignore our inner experience and instead we learned to focus on others. Our ego wounded self learned to tune into what others were feeling in the hopes of having control over feeling safe.

Where you put your focus depends upon on what you believe makes you feel happy and safe. If you believe that your happiness and safety come from others liking you, connecting with you, approving of you, loving you, or spending time with you, then your focus is likely to be on others.

If you believe that your happiness and safety come from connecting with yourself and with your higher guidance, and from approving of yourself, defining your own worth, spending time with yourself, taking loving action for yourself, and sharing your love and caring with others, then your focus is likely to be within. In other words, if you believe your happiness and safety come from getting love, your focus will be on others. If you believe your happiness and safety come from being loving with yourself and others, your focus will be within.

When you put your focus on others -- on how others are feeling and behaving -- then your responses are in reaction to your assumptions about others. For example, let's say that you call a friend who has caller ID, so he or she knows it is you who is calling. Your friend says "hello" to you with a tense or withdrawn tone. What you do assume?

If your focus is on how your friend feels about you, then you might assume that he or she is upset with you. Your response might be, "You sound tense. Are you upset with me?"

If your focus is within and you are feeling compassion for yourself and are intent on taking care of yourself, then you are less likely to take your friend's behavior personally. When you do not automatically assume that your friend's tension is about you, you are available to care about your friend. Your response might be, "You sound tense. Are you okay?"

When your focus is primarily on others feelings and behavior, your intent is to find a way to control how others feel about you and treat you. While it may look like you are caring about others when you focus on them, the underlying intent is to get what you want from them. Because you are not focused within and taking care of yourself, your caring about others may be coming from an empty place within -- a place that wants to get filled from others.

When your focus is within and your intent is to take responsibility for yourself rather than to make others responsible for your happiness and safety, your caring for others will come from a full and loving place within you. You will be giving for the joy of it, from a place within that already feels happy and safe, rather than to get your happiness and sense of safety from outside yourself.

If you have never connected with your higher self and never felt the extraordinary love and power of Spirit within you, then it may be hard for you to believe that your greatest happiness and safety does not come from others loving you and connecting with you. If you practice taking responsibility for yourself long enough, you will eventually experience the joy that comes from opening to the love that is always available from Spirit, and the incredible joy of sharing that love with others. You cannot know this until you experience it, and you cannot experience it until you take the time to practice opening and being guided by Spirit in taking loving care of yourself.

The more you experience the happiness and safety that can come from within, the more motivated you will be to do your Inner healing work. Your focus will naturally move from outer to inner when you reap the wonderful benefits of finding your happiness and safety from within. The joy of taking loving action in your own behalf, of feeling filled with love from Spirit and sharing that love with others is indescribable. Once you discover it, you will no longer attach your happiness and safety to others or to events.

Happiness and a deep sense of inner safety can become your way of being, whether you are alone or with others.

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