Becoming Self-Centered

Perhaps you are familiar with the term self-centered as a synonym for arrogant, egotistical, and narcissistic individuals. When used in this context, the word implies that a person assumes the rest of existence revolves around him/her, with little regard for other people.

I ask that you discard your previous definition of what it means to be self-centered, because we are going to use this particular term in a dramatically different way. In fact, I encourage you to aspire to be MORE Self-Centered!

We have previously discussed playing small and dimming our own lights, as well as how to embrace our own amazing-ness. When we feel less than or better than, we are not centered within our truly divine selves – rather, we are in a state of comparison and competition – and when we operate from either of these attitudes, nobody wins.

Self-Centered indicates that you are monitoring your own tendencies to play the top dog, or the underdog and are continually adjusting your own attitudes and behaviors to maintain a confident and peaceful balance within your self. The skill to center the self can be developed.

Using the lists below, see if you recognize your own tendencies and whether you operate from a Top Dog (Superiority) mentality, or from an Underdog (Inferiority) mentality:

Top Dog Tendencies:

Conditional Love
Contempt Attack
Judgmental Thinking

Underdog Tendencies:

Feelings of Rejection
Low Self-Esteem
Approval Seeking
Lack of Confidence


  • Are you able to recognize areas where you project “less than” or “better than” to those around you?

  • Is it possible that when you aren’t comparing yourself to others, your experience changes? How so?

  • And what does it look like when you are Centered in the Self?

Self-Centered Qualities:

Personal Power
Unconditional Love


self centered strength

Getting Back to Center

When you catch yourself feeling like a Top Dog or an Underdog, take a moment to breathe deeply. Close your eyes, and remember that you are a Spark of Divinity inhabiting this physical body. Breathe into that knowing, and then choose to recognize everyone else in this same manner. Being Self-Centered is an active choice which realigns you with the truth of your existence.

Challenge: Ponder areas in your life where you operate from a ‘better than’ or ‘less than’ perspective. Contemplate what YOUR center looks and feels like, so that you can breathe back into that space when you catch yourself feeling above or below others.

  1. Answer each of the questions – you may want to start a journal or a blog to reflect on your journey.
  2. Share your thoughts with us! (Leave a comment, make a post in the Facebook Group, or even shout out on Twitter!)
  3. Practice re-aligning with your center when you catch yourself feeling superior and/or inferior.

With mucho a latte of love and respect,

Email Address First Name

9 Responses

  1. Maya Peta
    | Reply

    When you change the way you look at things, things change! My perspective on being Self-Centered is forever altered. Thank you, Janet!

  2. Karen Jolly
    | Reply

    This is so beautiful Janet!

    Self Centered is the space where we allow ourselves to become filled so we have so much more to give in life. There is nothing selfish about that – just Self FULL! So glad I found your blog today!


  3. De
    | Reply

    Hi Janet,

    I read your recent blog on becoming MORE Self-centered. Interesting choice of words for passage to a better self.

    I understand your intention is to make us MORE Centered. In fact, your approach reminds me of the teaching of Mr. Miyagi [wax on wax off] scene in the movie, The Karate Kid: The student is tempted to ask, why would I want to wash your cars?

    Obviously, it is not your intention for me to become a more arrogant, egotistical, and narcissistic individual. So, if I am going to participate in this exercise—Self-Centered as my passage, I must ask. What is my reward at the end of this journey, if not more arrogance, an inflamed ego, and a lack of empathy?

    In The Karate Kid, the student learns to protect himself using the [wax on wax off] motions as blocking techniques.

    Allow me this confession: I truly understand that it is absolutely necessary to travel back-to-self, in order to begin any journey towards a better self with others.

    • Janet Louise Stephenson
      | Reply

      Hello De Kridge,

      I always love when you stop by my blog to drop some wisdom. To answer your question, what is your reward if you participate in the act of Self Centering:

      I specifically chose this play on words to bring attention to the ego and how it affects our daily attitudes and behaviors. Many consider self-centeredness to be egotistical behavior, and it is… yet, on the opposite end of the spectrum, playing small and shrinking, and the embracing of a victim mentality (a.k.a. underdog) is also an egotistical behavior. With this visual, I am asking the reader to get centered within your own Spark of Divinity – recognizing there is not a ‘less than’ nor is there a ‘better than’ and when you catch yourself ever playing either of those roles, you can make an active choice of self regulation to come back to your center, where you find confidence, peace, harmony, and contentment.

      The play on words may be controversial when compared to the traditional definition of the term ‘self-centered’. I could have just as easily said, “Centering of the Self”.

      Have I answered your question?

      • De
        | Reply

        Yes, I understand your approach. The difficulty I have is not with the words Self-Centered.

        • Janet Louise Stephenson
          | Reply

          What is my reward at the end of this journey, if not more arrogance, an inflamed ego, and a lack of empathy?

          When you go within, to your ‘center’, do you find arrogance, an inflamed ego, and a lack of empathy there? If so, then yes, you may be rewarded with more of that by purposefully choosing to operate from that center.

          If you have a different experience when you go within, consciously choosing not to be superior or inferior, (and you make this a regular practice) AND at your center, you don’t find a well of arrogance, ego inflammation, and lack of empathy…. then you might find a different reward.

          • De


            Great acknowledgement: “When you go within, to your ‘center’, do you find arrogance, an inflamed ego, and a lack of empathy there? If so, then yes, you may be rewarded with more of that by purposefully choosing to operate from that center.”

            That is my point: The exercise is not a promise of change if change is not the choice. There are people who function on the premise of being Self-Centered their entire lives and care not to change. Of course, I understand your intention. In fact, you inspired me to share the following: I like the term Spark of Divinity, however, I interpret that Spark to mean our earthly dream, by which each of us is owned, to make of this life our individual and collective purposes.

            While I understand your point about the extremes: From Underdog to being Self-Centered in order to achieve a middle ground ‘balance’, I have come to reason that balance is archaic as it relates to how each of us recognize and accept the Spark—the responsibility to effect-and/or-attain the dream. For in my search to know my dream—and to stay on path, I discovered that we are three kinds of people, on three chosen, different paths: Oblivion. The Dream. No Dream.

            In fact, I have spent years training myself on how to quickly identify the three different kinds of people. Allow me to borrow your [no ‘less than’ and no ‘better than’] to share the following: I believe that we are the only intrinsic constant for making all things to any purpose, possible. My dream—the Spark is more than; if I choose this dream over all other things and over everyone else—Self-Centered, I will become more than I could imagine. However, if I choose Oblivion—contentment, I could never be more than what I don’t know I could become—for my knowledge of ME defines the place I have chosen to represent, Oblivion. And yet, with certitude in my dream—and for whatever reason I choose not to acknowledge that dream as my purpose, I am deliberately choosing to become less than what I know I could become. So balance is passive to my mind—transient slumber, until that permanent slumber.

            Hence the reason I asked you about my reward at the end of the exercise/journey. If it is ‘balance’it is rest, perhaps much-needed-rest, but nothing more. In my present stay-of-mind, balance is synonymous with disconnecting from the demanding combinations of the following turfs of life: parent, spouse, lover, partner, provider, kin, family mentor, friend, entrepreneur, employee, employer, and of course—dream-achiever.

            Yes, Self-Centered is indeed a provocative choice, and we should excel in it if we intend to effect-and/or-attain the dream. Keep them coming, Janet.

  4. Hrvoje Butkovic
    | Reply

    I find that self-centredness works very well, so I’m glad to see you looking at its positives, Janet.

    I would actually stick with the traditional definition of self-centredness/selfishness – one that is entirely about looking after one’s own interests – and argue that it inevitably leads to looking after the interests of others as well, provided that it is done at a high-enough level of awareness. In other words, the traditional advice to stop being so selfish/self-centred and become more selfless/other-centred is misguided; it merely replaces one dysfunction with another. The key is to raise awareness instead, which leads to the selfishness-selflessness dichotomy becoming irrelevant.

    I have illustrated this dynamic in the diagram:

    To give you an example, consider what it would take to have the most intense experience of abundance. Not just having a lot, but having the experience of having a lot (after all, what use is wealth if one’s everyday experience is one of scarcity?).

    The experience of abundance, like other experiences, feeds off contrast. In this case, it is a contrast between the affluent present and the memory of a destitute past. Look what I can afford today that I couldn’t afford yesterday! It is this contrast that takes something that we have and produces a visceral sense of having it.

    Unfortunately, contrast is difficult to come by in our own lives. It takes time to become significantly wealthier than we were before. Winning a lottery would do the trick, but it’s not something we can count on.

    The deepest contrast that I have found is between my life and the lives of others. The most profound experience of abundance that I have been able to create was by causing someone else to feel abundant, and then sharing in their experience.

    When experiencing abundance through other people, there are two sets of limitations in play. The person who is giving is restricted by what he has and what he believes he can afford to give away. The person who is receiving is similarly restricted by what she has, what she still needs, and what she believes she can or cannot have.

    The experience of abundance arises from the contrast between what the receiver believes she can have and what the giver believes he can give away. The greater the gulf, the more intense the resulting experience. The receiver experiences abundance by having her perceived limitations blown away and finding herself in possession of wealth that she didn’t think possible. By sharing in her experience, the giver comes to know himself as the source of that wealth, which now seems to hold far more worth than it ever did before.

    The effectiveness of experiencing abundance through other people stems from the ease with which we can achieve the necessary contrast. Instead of having to transform our lives by acquiring sought-after riches in record time, we can find someone to whom our present circumstances appear unbelievably prosperous, and transform their lives by a simple and modest act of giving.

    I have described this dynamic in the following articles:

    You can also find it illustrated on pages 26 and 27 of the course notes I’ve sent you, the section titled Working through Relationships.

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