Thursday, July 28, 2011
It's Not About You (Part II – Them)
Having previously explained (in my last post) the powerful influence of me and how that came about, along with some of the undesirable effects it has on our lives, I now point you to one of the places where we are most vulnerable to its righteous screeching: our personal relationships.
Every effort you make to see another point of view (other than me’s), will not only set you on a path were Reason and Wisdom will overrule your me impulses, but will bring great rewards in your relationships with friends and family. It will make it easier to take a deep breath before responding to a relative who has pushed your me button so successfully in the past. You will become a more attentive listener, because Reason requires that you know what is really going on (while me more or less doesn’t care).
When my husband and I were first married, I fell under me's spell almost right from the start. An example: one evening over dinner, I noticed that my husband had been very quiet for some time, and that his answers to me were very short and unsatisfactory. I became very uncomfortable. "What's wrong?" I asked. "Nothing, it's not about us,” he answered back.
Me didn't believe it. Me never believes that it is not at the center of things. "Then why are you letting it out on me if it’s not about me?” Me was becoming annoyed!
"I'm not! Could we just skip it? Why do you always have to know everything?" His me was now equally annoyed. Suffice it to say that the me's had the floor for the remainder of the evening, and it wasn’t pleasant.
I have since then learned some things about my husband, and myself. I have learned that he has many habits, likes, and dislikes that differ from mine. When he is focused on challenges from work or his writing, the world around him becomes a great thick fog that will let nothing penetrate it to interfere with creativity. That's what works for him. I have come to respect that, even though it is not how I function. Now, when he’s quiet or thoughtful, I leave him alone. I wait until I'm told, "We have a problem," without interpreting his behavior beforehand as being somehow about me. I have grown comfortable with all his idiosyncrasies, and my me hasn't grumbled “You're really a jerk" for a long time. Really.
The lesson here is, don't ask why someone has a problem with you unless they specifically say that they do. You just may become the convenient lightening rod for someone who is ready to vent about something that has nothing to do with you at all!
Remember why me's influence is so strong and that its voice is most often heard first. Learn to laugh at yourself when you discover you have succumbed once again to me’s irrationality. It will help you to avoid the same mistake next time. Don't defend it, and don't beat yourself up! (Remember, this is something we all do.) Stay on the path to strengthen the voice of Reason by reminding yourself, when in doubt, that it’s probably not about me.
Good luck with your goal!