Outward Focus


     My first year in college, when I lived in the Riviera Apartments while I was going to UVSC, I had an awesome roommate. I think her name was Christy. One night, I was really frustrated and worried about this boy that I liked. He took me to homecoming. I told her how I just didn’t feel very happy in my life. She taught me an important lesson from a spoon. 🙂 Intrigued? Let me explain.

      She helped me to understand that I wasn’t happy because I was focusing so much on myself and my own problems. She went and got a spoon and said, “Look!” and she had me look at my reflection in the concave part of the spoon.  My reflection was upside down. She then turned the spoon around so that I was looking my reflection with the convex portion of the spoon. This time, my reflection was right side up.

     She explained to me that when all of our focus is on ourselves, like all of the points of the spoon focusing in toward you, our life is flipped upside down, we are unhappy and our problems seem huge. On the other hand, when we change our focus from being self-centered to focusing on the wellbeing of other people, our life seems right, our problems seem smaller and we are much more happy. This has seriously changed my life and it has helped me to be happier. It’s made my life much easier.

     It’s interesting that when we are being selfish, focusing on our own needs and our own happiness, that is when we are the least happy but when we forget ourselves and focus on others needs and their happiness, we also find joy and strength. I love the scripture that says, “Charity seeketh not her own”.

     When I think of a good example of selflessness, I think of Grandpa Park. One day, while driving in the car with Grandpa, he told me about how he used always ask my Grandma, “Ann, what can I do to make you more happy?” He’s just like that. He is a kind, selfless and good man. He is always serving others, whether it’s by making them benches or lap desks or when he is visiting people in the care center. I remember when Grandpa spent hours and hours helping me make these picture frames for my Christmas presents to give away. He’s always lived a life of service.

     As a missionary in Argentina, I remember when I lived in Lujan del Cuyo that there were 600 people on the records for that ward but only 15-20 people came every week. It was so sad. So many members of the church would go inactive because they just came to receive and not to give. If other members of the church didn’t fulfill their needs, they would just stop going to church altogether and then they were missing out on so many blessings.

     When I first got married, I lived in Millcreek. It was a great place, but I just felt like no one in the ward cared about me and that I didn’t have any friends. There were so many amazing people in that ward but I just felt like I was so alone. Matt felt the same way in that ward. After moving to our new apartment, I realized that the problem wasn’t the old ward. The problem was me. I was just waiting for people to reach out to me without making any effort to reach out to them.

     I’ve been so much happier in this new ward that I’m in, not because it’s a better ward than the other one but because I decided that I was going to be the one to reach out. We didn’t wait for other people to come and welcome us into the ward. In fact, not very many people did. We made cupcakes and went and gave them to all of our neighbors to get to know them. We have a lot more friends here and we love it here. It’s been great. We hope that we can stay for a long time.

     I’ve learned that when we focus on giving and helping others and forget ourselves, that is when we will find ourselves.


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