I was driving on 400 N. from Buckhead one day, and as I was approaching the toll booth, a car came riding up on my bumper tailgating me. My first thought was “What is this person’s problem?” I found myself getting really ticked; it seemed like a deliberate case of harassment. Continuing down the highway I was getting more annoyed; as the traffic broke up, the car sped by me, got over to the right and off the ramp at the hospital exit.
Wow! I had a total paradigm shift. I thought to myself, that person must have been going to the hospital. I immediately felt embarrassed because, who am I? Why did I think it was about me? That person doesn’t even know me and I was getting ticked off as if it was a personal offense.
Now this is not the only time this sort of thing happens, it can happen with people you know. Have you ever called a friend and they didn’t return your call or you email someone and never hear back? Or you find out a couple of friends had lunch and you weren’t invited? Or there’s a hostess party that someone committed to and didn’t show up? You immediately start thinking, “I can’t believe she didn’t call or email me back! Or didn’t show up! Or they met without inviting me!” Only to find out that your friend was on vacation, their email address had changed or she’s overwhelmed with some family crisis. The friends had lunch because they ran into each other at the store or maybe they had something specific to talk about? Or she didn’t come to the party because money is tight and she didn’t want to be embarrassed that she can’t purchase something.
The bottom line is that 99.99 percent of the time, it’s not about us. So the next time there’s a situation where you start to question someone’s actions and begin to take them personally…STOP and say “It’s not about me”. Odds are that person has “stuff” going on that has nothing to do with you.
Wouldn’t it be great if we all gave the benefit of the doubt when these circumstances arise? It just might be a kinder, gentler worldJ