I used to be self-absorbed. Now I'm self-centered. While neither one of those is a perfect state of being, to me one is far and above better than the other. To me they are not synonyms.
I was self-absorbed.
It's not that I didn't care about anyone. I was just of little help to them emotionally or otherwise. I was too absorbed in the amount of energy it took just to get out of bed, make it through the day. Surviving a day in the torture chamber of my own mind was too taxing, I had no currency left to give anyone else. I also had rock bottom levels of self-love. It's difficult to properly express your love to the outside world when there's none inside.
I'm now self-centered.
How is this a better way of life? The shift to self-centeredness fixed the most major flaw of my self-absorption. By focusing on bettering myself, I grew the resources to be of service to others. The more self-centered the more I become equipped to help others. The more I help others, the more I get in return. Serving others is serving yourself.
My self-centered living also grows my compassion more and more each day. Facing the darkest parts of myself and purposefully exposing myself to discomfort would be impossible without also growing my self-compassion and self-love. By extending myself kindness I become more focused on kindness and compassion for others. I'm trying to give everyone the most generous assumption about their behavior that I can these days. Trying to assume they're doing the best they can right now.
Because I make mistakes. Because I try things that don't work. Because I used to behave in ways I never would now because I was pain. Sadly I believe a lot of us are in pain and that's now often the most generous assumption I can give - "that person much be in a lot of pain to be behaving that way."
I think the message here need not be long to get across. I believe the message is this - Focus more on truly bettering yourself from the inside out and you'll see you have more to give this world than you ever thought you could.