[dropcap]"I[/dropcap]t's always about me" is an opportunity to take real responsibility for my feelings and sit with them in the moment, without blaming, shaming, finding fault on the outside, with another or myself.
What do you think of?
When you hear the statement: "It's always about me" what is the first thing that pops into your mind? "That's pretty selfish"? Or, "How narcissistic!"?
When last were you hooked by someone? A friend, significant other, colleague or a sibling? I was hooked a few days ago by a flippant statement about some writing I had done. It was too "academic". What the hell? Too academic? What does that mean? There wasn't a referenced piece in the entire article. Then the said person proceeded to add his two cents worth to the piece and make it even more "academic".
I sat with my feelings
For once, I did not say anything. I did not respond by throwing the "academic" judgment back at him. I sat with my feelings of irritation, indignation and put-outedness. I knew that he meant no harm when he said what he did. He wasn't judging it for being "not good". It was his experience of what I had written and whether he was right (and he is usually right, I have to admit) or not, made no difference, it was how I was feeling in the moment that was important.
It was an innocuous statement. That I took such umbrage at it says something about me and my desire to get it right first time. Me, of all people! I write a great deal, I know that the first draft usually comes out messy. I knew that my piece of writing could do with more work and yet I still felt hooked by the criticism. It was all about me. It always is in these types of situations.
On the other end of the spectrum
On the other end of the spectrum, and to be a bit dramatic, I could have ruminated about the comment, embraced it as my own and collapsed under the weight of my despair at not having got it right. I could have gone on a whipping trip of never being able to get it right, being useless, stupid, blah, blah, blah. That is going a bit far, I admit, but it can happen, and does in more intense interpersonal situations. It is the final escape from taking responsibility. This time not blaming someone else but heaping the blame on myself. Not very useful. Blaming myself would not be accepting responsibility for the way I was feeling, it would just be making it worse. Blowing it out of all proportion, actually.
An opportunity to take real responsibility
When we say "It's always about me" we mean that it is an opportunity to take real responsibility for what I am feeling in the moment, without blaming, shaming, finding fault on the outside, with another or myself. It is much easier to point fingers elsewhere, even if they are pointing at myself, than attend to the original feeling. When I throw the criticism back I no longer have to sit with the feelings of inadequacy. I can feel righteously indignant instead. Right. I am right, you are wrong, I win.
I don't win, of course, I lose. I lose the opportunity for growth. I lose the opportunity to find happiness. I lose the opportunity to be me, accept me and love me. To find the 5th Place inside of me.
Image credit: Reshot