When St. Paul tells the Corinthians that we should treat this world as passing away, it can really seem like a downer. But we are being asked to see the world around us as it truly is, which is to look past the veil which hides the truth. This truth is that we, each and every one of us, are part of something bigger and more wonderful than we can understand.
God has in mind for us something much greater than our highest hopes for ourselves, and St. Paul is trying to get us to look past ourselves altogether. To focus on our current state is to deny the real truth about who we are. It would be a mistake to focus on anything else first, as it would be overwhelming to try and focus on this great mysterious reality without seeing ourselves in it.
This starts with the fact that God created us out of His Love, and this is what we are meant for, to live in that Love in eternity. If we realize this as fully as we can, we see nothing around us as giving us concern. All of our saints have pointed us to this way of living, even those who have focused so much on helping people in this life. The very reason we help people in this life is so that they can be freed from their worries, and focus on their true reality as children of God, as we are being asked to do.
Once we have made this turn, to look beyond our life here and now, we are making the choice to see ourselves as God sees us. This automatically raises above the concerns we have in this world, and helps us to fight the temptation to look inward at ourselves. It also helps us to see the others around us who need our help to be raised above the concerns of this life. What type of need they might have is almost irrelevant, as almost any concern can keep our entire being from turning fully toward God. Let us, therefore, fix our own gaze upon the greatness of God’s plan for ourselves rather than our own concerns. Maybe, like many saints before us, we can then bring others along with us.