I think we need to be centered to be effective in life. However, it’s easy to confuse ‘centered’ with ‘selfish’. They are not the same thing. ‘Selfish’ means to be concerned only with yourself, at the exclusion of others. ‘Centered’ is different. When you are in an airplane listening to the flight attendant explain the safety procedures, she always tells you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping someone else. Being ‘centered’ is like that. It’s about having self-esteem. We take care of ourselves so we can give to others. Self-esteem is the driving force behind doing the right things in life without needing some kind of reward or recognition. The strength of our character is dependent on self-esteem.
When we develop a pattern of looking to others for approval, we lose sight of our center and we are less effective in life. We make choices that might be good for them, but are not necessarily good for us.
‘Centeredness’ has nothing to do with having an ‘ego’ either. Your ego is a reflection of what others think of you. It’s selfish. It often drives behavior but only to the extent that you want control over the world around you. With centeredness, you’re not interested in controlling others. You are driven by your values and love yourself enough to take care of the gift that is you.
Centeredness yields confidence and influence. It makes for great leaders and great friends.