Powerful Questions Podcast: Is it really about you?
We all live in our own world. We have our thoughts, our beliefs, our undestanding and our ideas. We create stories around who we are and how the world is functioning. Everyone has a universe of their own.
And when other people do or say something, we always tend to see it throught the distorting mirror of our own beliefs. We tend to think that what others say or do has something to do with us.
But really: everything that anyone does is not about you, it's about them.
For example, if you get angry at someone, is it really about them or about you? Of course you can say that they did something wrong, or said something that made you angry. But what they did is what they did. They just did what was right for them in the moment and what they needed to do for themselves. They probably did not give one thought to how it would impact you. And how you react to that is another story, that has more to do with what you believe about the world and yourself.
You react strongly if you believe that what the other person did was wrong.
You react strongly if you believe that they did it to hurt you.
You react strongly if you believe that they should have thought about you when they did it.
The underlying reason why we often take things personally is that we are all in a way selfish. We have our own universe and we are the lead character in our own lives, which is absolutely normal. But what we often forget is that each person has another universe they are carrying with them, one of their own. They have they own life experiences, memories, feelings and motivations. They have their own constellations of people around them and understanding of how important these people are to them. They have their own burdens and issues they are trying to solve. So when they act or make decisions, it is based on this universe of theirs that has nothing or very little to do with you.
Of course if the person is very close to you, the situation is a bit different. However, what they do is still not 100% about you – they would still have their own motivations for acting a certain way.
But often we even assume a lot of people who are not so close to us. Of a colleague who has at least 30 other colleagues that they work with in the same way. Of a professor who has 100 other students in the same course. Of a salesperson in a shop who has 200 customers per day.
What I want you to think about is this: what would happen in your life if you allow yourself to think that many of the things that are happening are not about you? That a person getting irritated with you might have had a bad day, of what you said triggered them in some way. But it's not about you, it's about them. That your manager who was unfriendly with you today just had a really bad meeting in the morning and was in the bad mood. That it doesen't mean your performance is making her unhappy.
Think about the freedom that you would get if you start seeing how many things are not about you. Freedom to not please others and live the life of your own.