Quit Being So Self-Focused
You know that feeling when a friend says or does something and immediately you’re convinced it must be in relation you – something you did or didn’t do, and they’re trying to send you a message?
I certainly notice that taking things personally is a response we seemingly have little to no control over – especially with those we are (or want to be) closest with.
Have you ever noticed how quickly we assume the things happening around us are about us? It’s like there is an instinctive response to immediately, without thinking, jump to the ‘taking it personally’ conclusion; that something someone said is about us, or the reason they’re not calling back is because of something we did or said, or not being invited is about them not wanting us around.
It’s amazing how personally we tend to take just about everything that occurs in the world around us! I’ve even heard people go so far as to say that the Universe is conspiring against them…
When you stop to think about this human tendency, it’s quite comical – especially when you consider the rest of the world is holding the same view; THINKING IT’S ALL ABOUT THEM.
Think about it for a moment…. everyone else around you has the same tendency to jump to the same conclusion as you – the ‘it’s all about me’ conclusion. Meaning we’re all totally wrapped up in our own melodrama and barely paying attention to what’s going on for other people – unless of course what’s going on for other people has impact on us directly, then we’ll notice.
Check-in for a moment… for those of you who know me, or work with me, are you wondering whether I’m trying to send you a message? For those of you that don’t know me, did you feel like someone told on you? Did you find yourself wondering if any of this post is directed at you? Even for a second?
What I’m pointing to is that it’s a normal human tendency to slip into the unconscious perspective that the world revolves around us – and it doesn’t. We learned to protect ourselves from getting hurt a long time ago by second-guessing other people’s motives and assuming everything was about us and related to us.
So what do you do about it?
First – get off it. It’s not about you.
Someone once told me to stop assuming the worst and start looking for the best possible reason (that had absolutely nothing to do with me) to explain what was going on. I think this is especially relevant when it’s in relation to the people you have in your life on purpose – the people you’ve chosen to be in some kind of relationship with. This certainly gave me power when I started to put the suggestion into action.
The next time someone didn’t call I looked for the best possible reason that had nothing to do with me. I chose to let go of stewing in the ‘they’re avoiding me’ perspective or ‘forgot about me’ perspective and went with something like ‘they’re busy’ or ‘they had an emergency’ or ‘they had other things to take care of first’ perspective instead. That created a lot of freedom for me, and not surprisingly for them as well. Sure enough I heard back that something had come up that got in the way of calling me back and it was no big deal.
When I don’t get included on an invitation I look for the best possible reason as to why rather than assume it’s a blatant message that I’m not wanted; maybe it’s a limited guest list, maybe it was an unintentional oversight, maybe it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to be included, maybe I’d hate whatever it was the invitation was for!!
Maintaining this perspective requires something that most of us find difficult to actually believe in or keep alive – TRUST.
In order to maintain that whatever is happening out there isn’t about me, I have to TRUST the people I have in my life. I have to trust that the people I have in my life love me and wouldn’t intentionally hurt me by excluding me out of malice or just ignoring me. I have to believe that they have my back.
I have to stop and think about whether they’ve ever done anything to warrant my unconscious suspicion and reaction that they’re out to get me, hurt me, or make me feel bad. If it seems like hurting me would be a normal thing for them to do, I might need to look at whether I should be having a relationship with them in the first place.
Something else I have to let go of in order to have this be successful is ‘my story’ or my perception of reality. Sometimes the reasons I conjure up to support the idea that someone is trying to send me a message can be SO believable, it seems there couldn’t be another possible explanation why something was happening.
AND so often, if we are open to it, the reality or story we create for ourselves gets proven to be an illusion.
It really takes something to stand powerfully in that – in the idea that it’s not about you and the story you’ve made up is just that, a story – and the rewards are HUGE. You would have to see yourself as fully empowered and capable of making a choice: believe in the character of the people you’ve chosen to be in your life or make a choice to limit the emotional impact they have by drawing effective boundaries.
The latter is sometimes easier to confront because believing the former, that people love you and have your best interests at heart, can be uncomfortable… You’d really have to believe that people actually love you and sometimes that can be a tough concept to wrap your head around…
The next time something happens in your life and you assume it’s someone trying to send you a message, look for the best possible reason to explain whatever is happening. Then go with that until you get proof (from the horses mouth) that it’s something different. If you’re still hung up on the idea that they’re trying to send you a message make up five other plausible reasons to explain what’s going on…
They didn’t call/ text because:
- Their battery died
- They got tied up
- There’s been a family emergency
- They met the love of their life and are lost on Cloud 9
- They forgot and they’ll remember soon because you actually are important to them.
You weren’t invited because:
- They knew you didn’t like to do what the invite was for
- It was a private event where they had minimal influence on the guest list
- The event isn’t what you think it is and it made no sense for you to be included on the invite list
- Based on things you’ve said in the past, they assumed you wouldn’t be interested
- There was a problem with your email and you didn’t receive the invite… that’s actually happened to me before… getting upset made things a little awkward.
So remember, when it seems like someone is trying to send you a message, it’s likely not about you 😉
Until next time ,
PS – Sometimes figuring this kind of stuff out and deciding how to deal with it on your own can be really challenging. If you have some challenging relationships in your life and you’d like to learn how to handle them more powerfully, I think it’s time we talked. I have space coming available over the summer for some new faces and I’d love to have you be one of them! Send me an email and we’ll set up a free consultation and see if we’re a good fit to make some great changes in your life!
How’re You Doing?
I love hearing from my readers! If this was interesting, helpful, or hit home, feel free to leave a comment below or contact me privately!
Not yet part of the blog notification list and you want more great articles like this? CLICK HERE to get on the weekly mailing list! No spam or crappy-crap-crap either – I promise!! Just a once a week dose of truth to keep you focused and on track in your life and the relationships that matter most to you 🙂
Spread The Word:
Don’t hesitate to forward this to a friend or share on your favourite social media platform or forward to a friend by clicking the buttons below! Share the knowledge!