I am self-centered and self-absorbed and self-focused. This is not an intentional thing. This is just how I sometimes live and see the world.
There has been an issue in my life for a little while now that is messy and it sort of has to do with me but it really has to do with a few other people. I’m for sure on the fringes. But, being a girl, and a self-absorbed one at that, I don’t always feel on the fringes. This little ordeal can feel like it’s about me. And I have spent a lot of time thinking about how it has affected me and hurt me and wah-wah-wah.
And so, for the most part, I have been responding to new updates along the way as if I were a key player. And, if I may be honest, that hasn’t been working well for me.
Until recently, when I tried something different. When I heard the news that I have heard a hundred times, instead of feeling swirly panic, insecure and sick to my stomach, looking only inward, and inadvertently causing a rift, I did this.
I asked my friend how this new development made them feel. In other words, I actually thought about someone other than me for fifteen seconds. And I listened. And I didn’t say much other than to agree it would be difficult.
And then I prayed for my friend and the other key players, outloud, even though it was hard and uncomfortable. Even though I’ve been hurt along the way.
And then you know what I did? I said to my friend, “Well, other than praying, we can’t do much about this tonight, can we?” And my friend agreed. So we went on with our evening plans.
And, I believe, we both enjoyed ourselves. We didn’t sulk or agonize. I didn’t replay everything over and over in my head, withdrawing and making matters much worse.
I simply told myself, in no uncertain terms, that this thing, truly, is not about me. That I’m a supporting cast member at best, with next to no lines, or perhaps like a tree that the characters can lean up against when tired, silent but supportive.
How much better my life would be on a daily basis if I could truly put this into consistent practice. If I could quickly assess each crisis that comes across my path and determine honestly if I’m a part of the problem or solution or just wanting to be, and if I’m not, to get myself out of the freaking way and move on with living my own life and let the people who it does involve get to the important business of figuring it all out without my selfish distractions.
Some things are about me. My life is about me. My home is about me. My parenting is about me. My marriage is about me. My friendships are about me. My faith is about me. My health is about me. But my children’s problems are not all about me, and my husband’s problems are not all about me, and my friends’ problems are not all about me. Some things are about me. But some things most certainly are not.
Lord, may I learn the difference, take responsibility when it is needed but walk on when necessary.
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