Tuesday

It's Not Really About You..

Almost 2 years ago, I browsed through my Oprah magazine and read an article written by Glee's Jane Lynch that really floored me.  I have thought about this article many many many times since then.  I remind myself often, that most things are not about me.  The way people act, the things people say, the daily ramblings of people and goings on of others.  Honestly, I took these words to heart.  The minute I stopped thinking it was personal, and stopped worrying that I did something wrong, and started letting other people be responsible for their actions, I found a freedom that was exhilarating.  Here's the article - no matter who you are, what your situation - whatever - I think you will find a beautiful, easy, yet powerful truth in these words.


Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

"As a kid, I was convinced that deep down inside, at my core, there was something wrong with me—something fundamentally broken. I constantly apologized, I'd over-thank people, I'd pay more than my share. It was as if I had some kind of deficit and needed to compensate for it.

Then, when I was 14, I started drinking, and I didn't get sober until I was 31. After five years in Alcoholics Anonymous, I met a woman who impressed me. So I asked her to be my sponsor, and she said yes.

That night I walked into a meeting and saw my new sponsor sobbing uncontrollably, with a group of women huddled around her. And my immediate thought was: "What did I do wrong? Did I say something to her? Was I supposed to call her?" And then, "She's upset with me because I'm a bad person." I had only known her for 12 hours! While everyone else was tending to her in her time of need, all I could do was think about what I had done wrong.

Then it struck me: "This has nothing to do with me. Whatever happened was not my fault. I felt a wave of relief, an internal shift that felt like I had just had a chiropractic adjustment. I saw that I had been living with a self-centered sense of unworthiness.

It's significant that I had this epiphany at an AA meeting, because when I took away the booze, all I had left was me. That moment forced me to shine a light on my shadowy areas; it was like turning a huge spotlight on myself. I realized that if I'm obsessing about my own feelings, I'm not present with the people around me—and am frankly of no use to them.

Today, if that instinct to take the blame gets triggered, a mechanism inside me kicks in and asks, "Is this really about you?" It's helped me become a better friend, a better partner, and a more helpful person. It's hard to focus on what someone else needs when you're so focused on what their problem could mean about you! I still have to take a deep breath and collect myself, but I'm no longer so wrapped up in my own feelings that I deprive other people of theirs."

From the June 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.
So go ahead - try it.  Next time something happens that makes you question your own role - ask yourself is this really about me?  "It's hard to focus on what someone else needs when you're so focused on what their problem could mean about you!"   Powerful.  True.   Believe it or not, not everything is about you (us).  Let others own their actions, thoughts, deeds.  You own yours.  You'll find you have a lot less to carry around on those shoulders.  God knows we have enough to carry around as it is.

Peace -
~DG



29 comments:

  1. Ok... I have to say, I am currently in tears. I'm having an absolutely AWFUL day today. So many things have been getting to me & I'm downright depressed, sad and just awful today. I needed to read this.
    Thank you! xxoo

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    1. oh honey we all have days like that..you're going to be ok..find something to pull you through - here, i'll throw you a safety rope..I've got you! xo

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    2. :) thank you :) It's just one of those days xo

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  2. This made me cry...and kinda hit close to home. What a great article. I love Jane. Thank you for posting this, lady...so many people need to read this. I know I did! xoxo

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  3. I wasn't even going to post this because it's not funny - and I was afraid people would be disappointed. But when I really thought about how many times I refer to this article in my head I couldn't not publish it. I think we all can relate to this. Thank you ladies for reading this and even if no one else does, I am happy I put it out there. Your kindness and support means so much to me..through funny and serious, I appreciate it. xo

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    1. Sometimes, I think we need to have days when we can get real & down and dirty too :) xoxo thank you again!

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    2. Lots of us need to hear this. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. What a great article! Your timing of this post was perfect. I can't wait to share this. Thanks for posting!

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  5. This is a wonderful share! Thanks so much for the reminder! You know, I found myself thinking about this as I was contemplating going back to the church we've been attending.

    I had mandated a "break" because I had issues with my spirited daughter being excluded from children's choir things on account of "she's not ready" when it's just that she's more challenging than most kids, and it being really stressful to attend instead of spiritual while my husband was deployed. . . and i was thinking "but if I go back, I'm going to have to talk about why I left for a while." and "If I run into [this person] or [that person] what will I say about how I feel about [insert embarrassing or frustrating moment here]" . . . and then it occurred to me:

    No one really cares about the things that you're dreading. It's not all about you. No one really cares what happened or why you weren't there. They're just going to be happy to see you.

    I could just go back, and not bring it up, and forget about all the guilt and anguish, because I'm sure no one is obsessing over it but me ;)

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    1. Amy - wow - yes...you are looking at it the right way - they will just be happy to see you. Letting go of that anguish is hard - but you'll feel liberated. Good luck sweetie..xo

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  6. Woah! Girl, great timing! Do you know HOW MANY people (women/mommys/me) need to read this? Awesome! I cant wait to get busy using this, my shoulders feel more relaxed just thinking about it. (you don't have to be funny ALL the time - helpful is good too!)
    Love it - Love you!

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  7. UGH..you girls are so awesome -thank you. love you! xo

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  8. Thanks for posting this. We all need the reminder.

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  9. well said :) thanks for the post about the article love the Phrase a self-centered sense of unworthiness. It rang very true with me as I feel the same and i need to recover from this as I'm sure a lot of people do. Its nice to know I'm not the only one :)

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  10. Wonderful!!! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this!

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  11. Wonderful!! Thanks SO MUCH for sharing this:)

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  12. I can't love you for your blog anymore than I do right now. I feel so much like Jane, constantly apologizing, giving more than my fair share because I feel like I need to make up for something that I've done that I can't even explain.
    This piece is great <3 So glad you're here and sharing with us!

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  13. I love AA so gd much. It's a miracle program that fundamentally changes lives and families. It works if you work it!

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  14. OMG. I really needed to read this. A "friend" went off on me and called me all of these names, including a "fucking fool" (and crap, even I know that is wrong) but it was so hard of me not to think that I had screwed up. I cried, and as I cried I asked a friend, "How could someone hate me that much? Why am I so bad?" My friend shook her head at me and let me talk and cry it out, but she reminded me that this whole outburst had very little to do with me or with anything I did. It wasn't about me. God knows I am NOT a fool. My "friend" has issues and she took all of the pain she feels inside and threw it at me. And it is up to me to let her anger go. Gosh, sorry I am going on, when all I want to say is thank you. Thank you.
    ~Running from Hell with El

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    1. El - so sorry this happened to you - it happens to the best of us. Your friend is the fool. Let her suffer w/ her actions and let her own them. You worry about you. 99% of the time it's got everything to do w/ them - and nothing to do with you. Ahh the beauty of this blog..we can apply it often to life. Big hugs to my beautiful friend. xo

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  15. Thank you for giving me some insight into my own actions (I do the "give more", volunteer, etc., etc.)I had been the "emotional garbage can" for my family for years and I'd done those things to overcompensate for my negative feelings about my value as a person. Now I know; they just needed a safety valve to let off steam and pressure. Well, it's not me anymore.

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  16. I am unsure as to how I missed this, but I am so glad I found it today. I can't help but feel that way, and this helps me believe that despite some special person's need to be a complete asshat, it isn't my fault. He is just an asshat and I'm ok with that! And we can't be funny ALL the time! You helped people with this, really helped! Love you! XO

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  17. So true. Thanks for posting this. Something I need to remind myself of often.

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  18. So powerful! I needed to read this today. Thank you DG!

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  19. I read the article, too, and I think I have it saved somewhere. Thank you for the reminder because I "forgot" to take this really terrific advice to heart. The thing that gets me is I bet men hardly *ever* feel this way. We women just love to blame ourselves for stuff... and we also think we have to "fix" everything... We are just built to be the ones who sacrifice, I guess.

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