Breaking Free from the Echo Chamber of Self

Nov 11 , 2023
By Eden Sahle

In the innocent days of childhood, life revolves around the tiny selves as parents indulge in every whim applauding minor achievements and children perceive the world through a myopic lens believing everything is about their existence.

Problems arise when the egocentric worldview persists in adulthood.

Case in point is my friend, a charismatic individual who I have come to know over the past couple of years. She has an unwavering belief that has wreaked havoc on her relationships with a selfish move that puts her as the only character in the show.

Our friendship has suffered as she abruptly left my wedding mid-ceremony after getting into an argument with her then-fiance. The decision to undermine the sacred occasion shattered the relationship.

Sometimes, life's events are interpreted through the prism that puts oneself as the focal point. However, this self-centeredness overlooks the world's vastness and lands on a self-esteem roller coaster that has uplifting highs and crushing lows.

In the upward spiral of success, people bask in the glow of recognition, believing they have earned every accolade and applause. When the tide turns, the opposite becomes true where the same people become dissatisfied victims of undeserved suffering.

Unfortunately, as inevitable as misfortune strikes painfully, we sometimes forget that hardship is part of the human experience.

Even when the perceived entitlements are challenged, blame is deflected, attributing the conflict to others' flawed values and priorities. Innocent actions are often misrepresented as personal slights while failing to recognise that others are equally preoccupied with their own perceived worth.

While important to us, the experiences, emotions and concerns, do not necessarily demand centre stage and may breed an emotional irrationality that alienates us from others.

I have witnessed individuals erupt in confrontations with strangers, assuming whispered conversations or laughter are directed at them, oblivious to the mundane realities of others' lives. Meanwhile, the problem knocks closer to home to the point of disrupting families at times.

A successful businesswoman who is also a close acquaintance divorced her husband weeks after their wedding because he failed to entertain the high expectations. While her feelings are valid, she was adamant about his comment that her actions may be destructive.

It becomes difficult to escape the clutches once snared in a destructive mindset.

Throughout the formative years, life operates under a reassuring sense of predictability. Actions are followed by consequences, creating a comforting sense of order. We succumb to the notion that people excel in school by adhering to prescribed methods, earn wages by diligently following company protocols and reap rewards for their efforts.

This linear relationship between cause and effect instils a sense of control over our lives. Nevertheless, as we venture into the uncharted territories of adulthood, the world ceases to conform to this simplistic pattern.

While embarking on a career change, the new job may not be guaranteed to fit the aspirations or ambitions. The friendship may not blossom into a lifelong bond as envisioned or the entrepreneurial endeavours that were fueled by passion and determination may not always translate into a resounding success.

The complexities of life will hit hard.

Failing to adjust leads to indecision where a person hesitates to take risks, fearing the potential failure and the inevitable challenges. Consequently, growth is repressed and opportunities are trapped in a cycle of self-doubt and inaction.

Adulthood demands snapping out of a self-centred attitude and bursting the attention bubble. But recognising that the world is not solely about self and allowing others to take centre stage at times can actually make life appealing.

PUBLISHED ON Nov 11,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1228]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at

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