In fact, it’s almost never about you. Or me, for that matter. Remember that.
One of the things we women are good at is dealing with the immediate. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, laundry, lather rinse repeat.
We tend to see what’s right in front of us, how it’s affecting us, and often use that to interpret how things could affect others. It’s one of the reasons why women are considered more empathetic, although falsely so in m opinion.
We are quick to respond to others because we are quick to identify with their plight from our own perspective. Despite the positive fruit that this can produce, it’s not really empathetic. We’re really reveling in our own feelings more than sharing someone else’s. It can just as easily produce destructive fruit and often does. The healthier way to respond to the hurts of others when we encounter people in various emotional states and situations, is to remember that often it has nothing at all to do with us.
If for instance, I call up a friend or relative and she seems curt, distant, or otherwise uninterested, I do not conclude that she is acting out directly against me.
If you find yourself in a similar situation (and who hasn’t?), don’t assume your friend is angry with you, misunderstood something you said, or is in some other way pulling away from you. It took me a while to internalize this one but once I did, the peace it produced was immeasurable.
When a friend or relative does not return your call or answer a text in a characteristically prompt time frame, say a little prayer for them: “She may be very busy today. Help her Lord in whatever way she needs it, big or small”.
It is never a bad decision to desire the best for someone else instead of nursing our own insecurities or perceived slights against us. Most of the time what’s happening with other people has absolutely nothing to do with me, and it’s probably the same for you, too.
On the off chance that there is something between you and a friend or relative that you were unaware of, and you can’t shake the notion that their behavior is directed at you specifically, just ask directly. Passive aggressive digs, unprofitable comments to other friends or family members, or retaliatory responses are in no way beneficial to the situation or your relationship.
All of this goes double when you are dealing with a spouse or significant other. Even though I have grown a great deal in this area, there are still occasional moments when my Benevolent Dictator has to remind me that “Not everything is about you.”
Since this is an online forum, I’ll offer nuggets from that perspective as well. The amount of mental and emotional energy wasted thinking that total strangers or Facebook “friends” you barely know are spending their time hating on you can never be recovered. Seriously, no one gives a crap about your political thoughts, nutritional epiphany or thoughts on relationships; at least not enough to hate you for them.
Well, the world is pretty screwed up and there are no doubt increasing numbers of people suffering under the delusions of grandeur and self-importance that even a small Internet audience can mimic. So use caution and sprinkle such people with generous grains of salt.
And do everything you can not to fall into that trap by getting -and keeping- a robust real life.