It wasn't that this was something that I hadn't heard before, Rebbe Nachman speaks about it if I recall correctly, and Shlomo Carlebach also pointed this out on a number of occassions. ("People can turn anything into an avodah zarah.") It was just the sudden realization of how far I have to go that was scary. Scary that the Noam Elimelech could see right through me all those years ago before I came to be born.
Lately I've been thinking about the same idea over and over, so I'll mention it again. It's such a deep tenet of Torah belief. Someone else's benefit does me no harm. In fact, because we are all mixed one with another, (כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה) someone else's benefit is generally to our own advantage. As long as we are caught up in a self-centered world view, we have the potential to fall into the trap of גאוה - hubris. When we view eachother's wellbeing as a measure of our own situation, there's little room to get caught up in the trap. This is why by the karbon pesah, if one couldn't achieve the level of humility (אם ימעט הבית מהיות משה) called שה, he then had to join with his neighbors and take part in a joint offering, recognizing that others complete him. (Noam Elimelech פרשת בא)