What if it’s not about you?
I know, I know: you meditate and do yoga. You’re centered and grounded. A few years back, you instituted the new family tradition of doing donations instead of holiday gifts.
Perhaps you’ve had a thought or even sent an email like the one we got recently from an anonymous Herbiary customer. It simply said: the woman helping me seemed annoyed.
My response (said to Andrew ’cause *anonymous* email):
She probably was.
Someone cuts you off in traffic, you spill coffee on your favorite shirt, a telemarketing company gets a hold of your phone number—our days are seasoned by a variety of annoyances, large and small.
There are a gazillion things which can sour your mood.
None of which have anything to do with the person standing in front of you, passing her Visa to pay for a rose essential oil.
Now put yourself on the other side of the check-out counter, paying for a rose oil. The woman behind the counter seems miffed. Your brain begins chewing on it: The sign says the store closes at 6, it’s only 5:50, girlfriend! Or Soooorry I interrupted your texting to buy something from you.
Even when you’re working hard to bring grace and balance to your life, your brain probably still has something to say about almost everything… and everyone.
But what if—instead of letting your brain spin out—you reach out? What if you remember the person on the other side of the counter (or the serving tray, or the phone line) is another human who’s had stuff going on all day that has nothing to do with you?
What if you decide it’s not about you and make an effort to reach out and turn these moments into points of connection?
I’ve had lovely conversations after inserting a simple “Bad day?” into an otherwise grumpy interaction in the grocery line.
What I’ve noticed: the world around me is far more interesting when I ignite my empathy.
I’ve been watching my assumptions, the dialogue that happens in my mind, and how my brain translates the moods and actions of people around me. And I’ve noticed how many of the little frictions in my life disappear when I remember that it’s not about me after all.
Try this out and let me know what happens in the comment below.