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It’s not always about You

Posted by Didi Gorman on

Do you find yourself sometimes, during a conversation, listening to your own internal monolog rather than to the other person talking?

Come on, we all do that.

Here’s another: When another person talks, do you mostly think about how their story affects YOU, even though it had nothing to do with you?

I admit, I do it often. I make it all about myself. I also have this nasty habit of secretly believing that MY story is far more interesting/remarkable/important/sassy/compelling/touching/hilarious/heart-breaking/meaningful/amusing than the other person’s... Wait, what? You do it too? Really? Ah, well.

In my non-expert kind of way, I’m concluding that we have a tendency to sometimes inflate our self-importance a little (or a little more than a little) and ‘make it all about ourselves’ as if the world somehow revolves around us. We then assume that other people’s stories and experiences are bland in comparison with ours and are not as significant.

As far as I know though, the world most certainly does not revolve around me. Or you. Or your cousin. Or your sister’s best friend from college. Or around anyone in particular, for that matter. And you know what? Lucky us it doesn’t! Just think how pressurizing that would be if the world actually did revolve around a particular person, watching their every move, everything they eat, every thought they think, every word they mutter… Phew, what a relief one is not always at the center…

But wait. Do you know those individuals who are so convinced of their own awesomeness, that they’ll happily give you a lengthy speech praising their imaginary grandeur? Of course you know someone like that; we all do. Makes you wonder how connected to reality they actually are, doesn’t it? And it’s quite comic watching them come to the shocking realization that, alas, there are no red carpets awaiting anyone.

Anyway, back to our point. By now you probably wonder, ‘What’s all this talk about delusional self-importance? Where is she going with all this?’ Glad you asked. Here we go.

Focusing on someone ELSE can be very liberating and eye-opening.

It’s transformative and gracious to truly listen to someone else (rather than to the internal chatter inside our heads telling us how unique we are), to let the other person shine in the conversation, and to give them all the attention they deserve, instead of seeking attention for ourselves.

When we truly listen, we find gems in other people. We learn from their stories and expand. It’s humbling –in the most rewarding and beautiful sense of the word– to realize that others are just as unique.

It’s not always about us, and that’s just fine.

By Didi Gorman