Kierkegaard had a wonderful concept in one of his books (I think it is Purity of Heart, but I could be mistaken) about living like it is just you and Jesus in the universe.
Now, before we get carried away, that is not meant to absolve us from our duty and privilege to love and serve other folk. It is not a “get out of society free” card, as much as some of our little introvert selves would like it to be.
However, I have found that when I consider myself–my failings, my abilities, my tasks–apart from anyone but Jesus, like He is the only one that I have to answer to, I get clarity. I understand myself and my role in the plan of God.
When I consider myself in light of the people around me, when I consider the opinions of others or their desires for my life, or even how I have failed them, the waters become muddied.
I think of how I failed my parents, how I wish I could have done better as a parent myself, how I have wasted time, I lose the “Jacob vs Esau” battle that I have with my brother in my mind. I worry about others perception or why some like me and some don’t and what I can do past apologise and make amends for any wrong I have done. I fret about my “calling” and “purpose”.
The noise. Holy cow, the noise.
But when I focus on Jesus and eternity, I stop comparing myself to others, stop frantically searching to fill the holes, I stop. And I think. And I am at once cognizant of my lack and His fullness and I can go back with a clear head to the work He has given me among humans.