It’s not always about you.

Hard title I know. But frankly we all believe that the things in our lives that happen to us or around us are ABOUT us. We assume responsibility for things that have nothing to do with us as a person. We have preset belief systems based on me against the world. Our biases, those invisible-to-us cognitions that have been clinging to us since we were just tiny little things learning how to find our place in the world, accept guilt and responsibility and victim-hood for so many things and oh…. how that changes the color of the world.

When something feels like it’s all about you, you confirm your internal biases. “My significant other had a fight with me and won’t tell me why and then they stormed out of the house and I hate them and no one can be trusted and nobody has ever really loved me and why does this always happen to me? I’m doomed” versus “my partner was in a really bad place today. Something must have happened (…work, home, during commute, bad dreams, no sleep, feels ill…) that I don’t know about. I will give them a little space, not assume it’s about me and how they’ve never loved me, and let them tell me what’s going on when their (anger, sadness, detachment) has abated. People have bad days. People make mistakes. Everything is not about me. It’s not necessarily personal.”

One of those thought processes is very vindicating. Your brain loves to prove itself right, and if you take a situation and make it all about you, your brain gets to say “seeeeee? I told you so!!!” The other thought process is harder and requires empathy and clear sightedness. Your brain will fight you on it, but as you practice, you’ll find that life feels better. Relationships work better. Frustration levels decrease. Hard? Yes. Worth it? Utterly.

This kind of cognitive restructuring is often helped by finding a professional therapist to help you see your own biases and guide you changing your set perspective. Find someone you can trust if you can’t do this kind of work on your own. It’s a tricky path but one worth pursuing.

 

Published by Joanne Mackie, LMHC

Psychotherapist specializing in adults with trauma, anxiety, depression and distress due to difficulty in interpersonal relations.

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