How often do we hear that? Usually as a joke, right? How I wish it was a joke, but the reality is that for most of us on this planet our view is that everything is all about us. This is especially true if you are a survivor and yet it isn’t. Don’t worry I’ll explain.
How often does this happen to you? You are driving in to work and you get cut off by someone. You see the other driver is on their mobile and your whole reaction is “How dare they cut me off!” Okay, let’s look at that. Did the other driver make eye contact with you? Did they flip you the bird as they cut you off? In all reality could the case be that the driver was being inattentive to their driving? That they never even thought of you? I know that is annoying and dangerous, but in reality you were not part of the other drivers decision-making process.
Ever wear an outfit you are not really sure of and feel uncomfortable in it all day? You see people look at you and start whispering or laughing. Of course it is all to do with you, right? No, actually it isn’t. First off if you walk by people or enter a room it is a normal reaction for the others to look to see who it is. I know that I do it. For me is a survival instinct. In that moment that I look at you I am deciding if you are a threat or not. I think this goes for all us. Now back to the reaction of the people. Are they talking or laughing at you? Maybe they are. What can you do about it? In all reality you can’t do anything about it so why let it bother you? The bigger chance is that they are not even talking or laughing about you.
I find that for many of us survivor’s we have the “all about me” mindset more so than others. Why? In most cases because growing up we were told that everything was our fault. Mom drinks through my birthday every year and you know it is my fault. The parent who beats their child makes sure that child knows they were asking for it. The abusive partner always makes sure that the one that they abuse understands that if they hadn’t made them mad then they wouldn’t be beating the crap out their victim. Our reacting the way we do makes sense, the problem is that it wasn’t true then and it is not true now.
Here is what is all about me and you. Our own thoughts and actions and that is it kids. We believe that we play a bigger part in others worlds than we do. I am not saying that people in your life do not consider you when making a decision, but in all reality the thought process for all of us “how does it affect me”. We are always looking out for our own well-being. It is how we are made.
Now the one place where we don’t always look out for ourselves is when we are purposely taking action that can be misconstrued by others. For me this comes in the form of making plans for myself. My family freaks out. The reason is that they are looking at how it could affect them. I have always placed my life around my family. Their well-being always came before my own. That has changed now because I realize that their reaction has nothing to do with me, but how in their mind it is all about them. I am allowed to have time that is for me.
I guess the lesson is turn off the “all about me” voice once in a while. Realize that you have no idea what the guy on the phone who cut you off was experiencing. It could be that they were rushing to a trauma center because their child was in an accident. The person who stops talking to you has stopped because of how they feel not how you feel. The best thing to do is take a step back and occasionally look outside the “all about me” world. Make it about someone else once in a while. I believe they call that compassion.