It's Not All About You

Posted on: May 06, 2016

It's not all about youWould you say you have a big ego? Do you think the world revolves around you? Probably not, right? Most people would hate to think such a thing. But many of us experience an irrational mental tic that would suggest otherwise…

If someone appears to be in a bad mood, doesn't reply to a text, or even makes a negative comment on Facebook, many of us will assume it's because of something we've done. I often blame myself for other people’s behavior (I use the word ‘blame’ as it’s inevitably followed by a feeling of guilt). Cases in point:

  • If a friend seems subdued, it must be because they’re secretly pissed off with me for some reason. Maybe it was that time three years ago when I forgot they don’t take sugar in their tea?!

  • If a client takes too long to reply to an email, it must be because I’ve offended their sensibilities by sending them a completely terrible piece of work and they’re too busy scrubbing their eyes with disinfectant to reply.

  • If The Other Half is tired and doesn’t seem to find my (hilarious) jokes funny, it must be a reaction to one of my many transgressions from the past decade and I might as well just sign up to Tinder right now in preparation for my inevitable singledom.

  • If, horror of horrors, I’m forced to go to an actual till in the supermarket (rather than the gloriously automated self-checkout) and interact with a human, and that human is a grumpy arse, it must be because they’ve taken an instant dislike to me within thirty seconds of ringing up my Heat magazine and 10-pack of Tunnock’s Tea Cakes. 

Of course, there is no ‘must be’ about any of those scenarios, but in my head they’re all easily attributed to the fact that I’m a terrible person who should never talk to other humans. The question is, why do we assume that we have so much impact on the lives and moods of others? Why do we flatter ourselves by thinking we have that much power? The only conclusion is that we have massive egos and think that the world revolves around us.

In reality, the people we interact with are sometimes so preoccupied with their own inner monologue that we may as well not exist. Not in a harsh, ‘you don’t matter’ way, but in a ‘you are not responsible for everyone’s happiness’ way (no matter how many crap jokes you’re armed with). It’s actually a very liberating notion.

So let’s all keep these five small but powerful words in mind the next time we’re convinced the waiter is plotting our demise: it’s not all about you.

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