ME in the Family

Life based on an “It’s all about ME!” mindset will have terrible impact on your family. Toxic selfishness destroys relationships and makes some people impossible to live with. If “It’s all about ME!” then it can’t be about anything else, can it? So everything else suffers. Family suffers. People suffer. Marriage suffers.

When “Me” becomes someone’s focus in the family that person ends up abusing everyone else. So I want to walk you through some observations about this disastrous selfishness issue.

Western Disease

While selfishness is endemic in human society it certainly has a stronghold in Western society. It is very much a Western disease. Now, I know that every culture is afflicted with self interest and maybe some are worse than the West, but since I mostly deal with Westerners I want you to face up to the issues of our culture.

Modern Westerners are strong on independence, pleasing themselves and knowing what their favourite choices are. We ask our children what they want, from the earliest age. We promote self-expression and self-assertiveness across our culture. We provide wide variety so everyone can cater to their personal tastes and preferences. All of this and more goes into promoting a selfish perspective.

Fading Christian Morals

Previous Western generations were profoundly impacted by Christian teaching, from pulpits, classrooms and the broader culture. Biblical Christianity teaches selflessness, sacrifice, service to others, care for the needy, love for our enemies, forgiveness to our offenders, love for our neighbours, responsibility for our actions, and much more, that all work together to counter selfishness.

As Christian morals and Biblical teaching have faded from Western culture the grace and message that empowered people to deal with their selfishness has also faded. Westerners are less able to resist their selfish impulses now than in previous generations.

Increasingly we see young and old living by the maxim, “It’s all about ME!”

Family Suffers

When “Me-ism” flourishes, families suffer. Family is a place where personal and individual aspirations are restrained, for the common good of all the other members. A couple join together in a mutually rewarding union. Both husband and wife work together in their own unique roles to establish a lasting relationship.

The secure base created by the marriage forms the framework for a family into which children are born and in which they are raised. The couple assumes the roles and responsibilities of parenting. Children grow up in the security of the home and learn to take their own place as both beneficiaries of the family and responsible contributors.

But when family members become focused on self-will, self-interest and self-indulgence, the family is impacted. Family life stands in stark contrast to selfish self-indulgence.

All About What?

What happens in many exchanges between couples and with children is that some issue comes to the fore and becomes a source of pain. While on the surface it seems that the conflict is all about the issue that is in focus, the real problem may well be “Me-ism”.

While it may seem that some disturbance is all about a mess that is made, a job left undone, a door left open or any one of a thousand other things, it is in fact all about someone’s feelings. It’s not all about that thing which is pointed at as the problem, but it is “All About ME!” in the mind of the person who is raising the protest.

Mum and the Mess

To help you understand what I’m driving at, let me give you an example that might happen in an average family.

Imagine a mother who is suddenly upset about a mess left in the kitchen. She raises her voice and calls out in angry tones to find out who is responsible. Because of her anger no-one wants to admit guilt. Outraged by the mess and the lack of anyone taking responsibility the mother begins to berate the family, accuse various people, express her pain, or some similar dramatic display. The family suffers in silence, feeling that mum has a case, but also feeling that something is out of order.

The end result is that people are all brought into a pain experience. Shame, discomfort, embarrassment or many related feelings may be stirred up. The mother is not made to feel any better by her outburst and may carry her sense of offence for a long time after the explosion. Everyone else walks on egg-shells (so to speak) or gets away from the fuming mother.

Mess or Me

Most times that this kind of situation develops the problem is not the mess but the “Me”. The mum carries her own set of feelings about her role in the home. She has her own set of feelings about her kitchen and how things are meant to be left. She has her own set of feelings about what it means to have to clean up after someone who has not taken responsibility for their mess. She has her own set of feelings about what she could be doing with her career if she were not a domestic mum. She has her own set of feelings about how she has protested in the past and not been listened to. And so on it goes.

When such a mum sees a mess in her kitchen there are multiple buttons pressed in her brain and heart. She reacts, or should I say “over-reacts”, based on the past history of issues that are unique to her private thoughts and feelings. She dumps her hurts, disappointments, frustrations, outrage, misgivings, sense of failure, and other possible inner feelings, onto her family. The tirade she expresses is not a wise means of resolving an issue, but a “Me” outburst.

Those private thoughts and feelings are part of her “Me” package. When she blows her top it is not really because of the mess that has been left, but because of her own personal “Me” package of thoughts and feelings.

No More Me

Imagine how that situation would be dealt with by a person who had completely dealt with her “Me” problem, or who at least was very sensitive to it and who ruled her own spirit.

Mum comes in and sees the mess. She immediately realises that someone in her family is not taking proper responsibility for the messes they make. She quietly goes to individual family members and enquires, quietly and without any passion, to find the person who is responsible.

When she discovers the one who left the mess she sweetly asks them to come and assist her in cleaning up the mess. She supervises them to ensure they know how to properly remove the mess they have made, and then asks them sweetly to remember to do it of their own initiative next time.

She then prayerfully considers the process employed in the home to train people to take responsibility. She may seek her husband’s advice and assistance in creating a more effective regime in the home. She will also ask God for wisdom.

Meanwhile, she will see that all the feelings which rise within her from time to time are indications of her own failure and need for wholeness. Rather than venting any of those feelings or dumping them on others, she restrains them and then takes them to God in prayer, for her own total deliverance.

When she is used, abused, taken for granted, treated with thoughtless disregard, and so on, she seeks God for divine wisdom about God’s honour being preserved in the home.

Her focus is to: give honour to God and to her husband; raise her children in godliness; establish God’s kingdom on earth; glorify God by her responses and choices; die to herself; be a servant; model God’s grace to her children; discipline her children on God’s behalf, not on behalf of her hurt feelings; and so on.

Hubby and Kids Too

The example given here could be applied to a father who is angry with his wife of children. Or it could be applied to children who are in strife with each other, or who have taken offence toward a parent.

When a man’s ego has been offended he will respond based on his feelings, rather than based on God’s wisdom and glory. Issues become “Me” focused, rather than Kingdom of God centred.

Children take up offences, from each other and from their parents. They may resent the restraints placed on their by their dad, or the demands made of them by their mum. They may be jealous of their siblings or just plain selfish about getting their own way.

In family life, many of the issues which come up to cause strife between family members are actually based on the “It’s all about ME!” mindset.

It’s About Him

It’s time to do away with this toxic selfishness. It’s time to give God glory in your home, by you dying to self and removing the “Me” factor from all your relationship exchanges.

It’s not longer about “Me”, but about Him (God) and about His Kingdom.

It’s All about ME

A Makeup artist to a world famous celebrity interrupted a photo session with a nation’s President to ask if anyone had a blender (food processor) for mixing her special health mix. She then went on to ask every dignitary she met if he or she could find a blender for her. I won’t tell you who or where, but I know people who witnessed this ridiculous and self-indulgent process.
These antics are laughable, but reveal a level of arrogance and self-absorption that goes along with Western culture. It is summarised in the phrase “It’s All About Me!”

It’s All About Me!

Most people who live by the “It’s all about Me!” philosophy would probably deny that they live that way. Most selfish, self-absorbed people cannot see their behaviour through other people’s eyes.
This post is an attempt to prompt you to look again at what you do and what you say, to see if you are guilty of the “all about me” mindset.
Westerners mostly act on impulse to satisfy inner promptings which are their reactions to various stimuli. Rather than living with restraint, learned responses, consideration for others, submission and the like, Westerners are taught to view life through their own lens. Westerners are likely to say what they think, without thinking. They will speak their mind first, and possibly never consider the inappropriateness of what they said, or the selfishness of their perspective.

It’s All About Selfishness

The “all about me” mindset is actually selfishness at work. It is pride, arrogance, self-focus and self-indulgence. Those are evil things, morally. Mankind was not created to live selfishly. When we live with our own interests, thoughts, plans, intentions, will and self-expression as our focus we are living in pride. We are living in sin; since we created to live for God not self.
Using “It’s all about me” as a reference point we can get a clearer picture of selfishness at work.

“Me” the Destroyer

Millions of friendships and marriages are destroyed because of the “It’s all about Me” mindset. “Me” is a destroyer. Relationships involve two people in agreement. When one of those people is centred on their own self then agreement is hard to achieve. The only way two can be in close agreement in such a case is for one person to idolise and become slave to the other.
When a relationship is anchored in one of the parties it is not a relationship at all. Being a “Me” person denies others any real relationship with you. It also stops you from opening yourself to them.

“Me” Talk

“I’m annoyed with you” is a statement of the ‘Me’ mindset. “How dare you treat me like that” is a statement of the ‘Me’ mindset. “You make me so angry” is a statement of the ‘Me’ mindset.
Every time someone looks at life from their own perspective the “It’s all about me” mindset is revealed. They may never say “It’s all about me”, but their focus and statements clearly betray that they see everything from their own perspective.
Some people don’t actually ‘talk’ their “Me” focus. They let it be heard in their body language. Sub-vocalisations (grunts, sighs, etc) are often used to express exasperation, disgust, disapproval, disagreement, and so on. Body language such as frowning, scowling, turning away, shaking the head, and so on, may be used to “voice” the “Me” focus.

“Me” Gets Personal

When a person has a “Me” focus they are already very ‘personal’ about things. They impose their own personal perspective on the issues at hand, and so they will invariably attach their feelings to their dealings with other people. It will all get very ‘personal’.
Everything is already ‘personal’ for them. They start out personal and that’s where it all bogs down. If a “Me” person is offended or upset they will be offended or upset with another person. This is extremely damaging to relationships, because the “Me” person will berate, scold, or otherwise deal harshly with the person they see as having upset their “Me” perspective.

No Me At All

Another way to unearth the “Me” focus is to see what life and conversations would be like if there was no “Me” in the picture at all. Imagine a situation where one spouse has forgotten to do what they promised to do.
In a “Me” situation frustration, exasperation, disappointment or sore feelings would likely steer the words or tone of response to express how the “Me” person felt about the other’s failure. The person who failed would be seen as and be treated as the “problem” in the situation.
Words of rebuke, scorn, anger, frustration or the like would be dumped on the person who failed to do what they promised to do.
If there was no “Me” in the picture, the only response would be to solve or deal with the problem created by the forgetfulness. The problem would be the problem, not the person. The issue would be assessed and fixed. The relationship would continue undamaged. It would not get ‘personal’.
If forgetfulness in the other person was a problem then forgetfulness would be dealt with as a problem. Forgetfulness would be the problem. The forgetful person would not be the problem. It would not get ‘personal’.

Looking for “Me”

I’ve said enough here to get you thinking and hopefully make you aware of the “Me” elements in your life. I challenge you to start looking for “Me” in your thinking, attitudes and relationships.
If you are Western you have a “Me” problem.
Even if you are life’s victim and never get to raise your voice at anyone, you will have a “Me” problem, probably something like “Pity poor me”. There is no escaping “Me” in our selfish Western culture, unless we have “died to self”, “crucified our flesh” and are now living by the power of Christ within us.
But that’s not an escape clause for you. You have no alternative but to be like Christ. And that means you have to stop being a “Me” person. It’s not all about you. It’s about Christ being formed within and God’s Kingdom coming on the earth.
I pray that God open your eyes to see yourself as He sees you – so you will be transformed to be the way He wants you to be.