I woke up this morning with a thought. I honestly can’t even remember what it was any more. But it was important to me at the time. Then I heard a little voice in my head say, ”It’s not always about you” and that literally stopped me in my tracks. And that voice was right. It’s not always about me. Or you.
What Does That Really Mean?
As humans, we naturally spend a lot of time thinking about ourselves. What are our needs? Our wants? Who do we want to be with? What do we want for lunch? Why is something hurting today? All of that is a normal part of life, and in many ways crucial to our survival.
But many of us forget that, at the end of the day, we are just a speck in a huge world full of billions of people, animals, plants and other living things. And we all have an impact on one another: trees help us breathe, pets bring us joy, and humans love and support one another. When too many individuals become hyperfocused on themselves, they begin neglecting other members of this vast ecosystem that we are all intended to support.
Let’s say you want to get together with an old friend and it’s just not working out. You’re getting frustrated. Why? Because “you” can’t get together with your friend.
But did you ever stop to think that maybe your friend has a legitimate reason for blowing you off (e.g., a health matter, family matter etc.) that you just weren’t aware of? In this case, it isn’t about “you” at all? Because after all, it’s not always about you.
Now let’s use that same scenario but this time you do get together with this friend. The entire conversation seems to be about his life and very little about what has been going on in your world. And you’re feeling kind of ignored and unimportant.
But again, did you ever stop to think that maybe your friend was at a tipping point and just needed someone to vent to? Once again, it isn’t about you at all.
When We Realize That “It’s Not Always About You”
Now, you may be sinking in your chair right about now; sitting there thinking about all the times that you were focused on yourself and how you felt.
But look at this as a growth opportunity; a chance for you to make the world a better place by focusing less on yourself and more on the people around you. Maybe it’s time for you to say “I’m sorry” for those recent moments in which you’ve focused on yourself when maybe you should have been thinking about other people.
I believe, from time to time, we are selected to do things for the purpose of helping others. We just happen to be the right person, at the right time, to perform a necessary task, like listening to our friend who really needed to talk. And yet often we have no idea of the who or why we are performing this task.
This is the beauty of life. We perform certain actions without fully having a grasp on the unintended consequences of these actions. We make the world a better place without even realizing it.
And to do this is so incredibly simple. All we have to do is realize: “It isn’t always about you.”