I’ve been on a journey for a number of years now. A journey of trying to figure out what the hell is the point of my life.
For many years, I was sure what my life would be like: I’d raise the kids, they’d move out and give me grandkids, my husband and I would move to Brazil when we retired followed by my death at 94 years of age.
Of course, before most of these things happened came the “I love you but I’m not in love with you” speech (I still don’t understand what that means!)
The rest of my life would look nothing like I had planned. “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” to paraphrase John Lennon.
Nothing was as I thought it would be. My foundation had disappeared. I felt like I spent my time jumping from ice floe to ice flow barely staying above the water. I developed health problems, gained a ton of weight and became addicted to pain pills (all for another blog post).
I studied Buddhism, tried to meditate, read Marianne Williamson and Brene Brown. I did counselling. I talked to my friends. I watched The Secret.
I learned that every situation was in my life because I had attracted it. Every action I took and decision I made led to a consequence. There is no single reality, it’s all in how I perceive things. It’s always about me….. What a wonderful sense of freedom! Life was under my control. No more blaming others, playing the victim.
Then I learned that it’s never about me.
But does that mean I’m not in charge of my life? How can both of these things be true? I’m confused!
So I did what I do best: I went quiet and I pondered this seeming contradiction.
I liked the idea of being in charge, of choosing what my life would be like. I didn’t like taking responsibility for the argument I got into with the person who cut in front of me at the bank. In that case, it was their fault. They clearly have work to do on their anger issues. That’s not about me.
In all my thought processes I was missing something, the glue that ties together “It’s all about me” with “It’s never about me”. That glue is something called triggers.
Let’s use the example from above. A person comes along and cuts into line. This shows a lack of respect for others which will ultimately reflect back on that person. That behaviour is not about me.
My reaction to that behaviour is; I’m triggered by his actions to respond in a way which reflects my issues. There were other people in line who didn’t respond. They weren’t triggered.
Here’s how it works: when you see a person acting in a way that is disrespectful it’s not about you. If you are triggered by their actions to act in a way which is disrespectful it’s all about you.
Ahhhh, conundrum solved. Now I can get back to figuring out the meaning of life and what that has to do with the price of tea in China.