It’s Always/Never About Me

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.

I’m All Alone

I have a voice in my head that says “No one likes you.  You have no friends.  You were born alone and you’ll die alone.”  Sometimes that voice can drag me down so deep that I’m unable to function.

But here’s the thing….the voice is not being truthful.  I have wonderful friends.  I get invited to go on vacations.  I get invited to parties.  I have friends who want to celebrate my birthday.  I have friends who check in with me when I’m sick.  So what is going on?  Why does this voice have so much power despite the fact that evidence proves it’s speaking dishonestly?

I find that it becomes active after I’ve been looking at Facebook or when I hear about some friends doing an activity without me.  I think the voice is triggered by focusing on lack.  Instead of looking at what I have – loving, supportive friends – I focus on what I’m missing  – attendance at an event.

How does this happen?  How do I become blind to what is right in front of me?  Could it go back to my upbringing and societal conditioning?

I was raised with the fear of there not being enough for everyone, with the thought that I better grab that thing before someone else gets it, the belief that if you achieve something then there’s one less thing for me to achieve.

This is a generational pattern in my family.  I understand.  My parents were born during the Depression.  It was a hard time.

My paternal heritage is from Newfoundland.  It was a tough place, people had to work and struggle for basic needs.  I don’t blame anyone for lack thinking.  It was a survival mechanism which meant my family survived.

But….do we need this survival thinking anymore?  Is it time to break a family pattern?  How about focusing on abundance thinking now?  In Canada our basic needs are met.  We are free to make a choice about how we think about the world.  We no longer need to follow those family patterns and the conditioning that now lead to unhappiness.

Once I’ve broken free from family patterns I still need to deal with societal conditioning.  We live in a consumer society.  Companies hire psychologists to ensure that lack thinking is deeply engrained in our brains.  How many products are sold because we’ve been convinced that there is something missing in our lives?  We don’t have enough clothes, we don’t have all 20 colours of panties, our car doesn’t have the latest feature, our video game doesn’t have the latest upgrade.

How many products do you see with “new and improved” written on them?  Why didn’t the company design the ultimate product to begin with?  Because they wouldn’t get the product sales generated by lack thinking.  They come out with a regular product, get some sales then create an ad campaign touting new and improved features.  Consumers can’t help but focus on the missing features of their current product; they buy the product again.  Companies have just increased the size of the market without waiting for a population increase.

Try something different….when a new and improved product comes out, stop for a second.  Have a good think about how well the original product works.  Does it do what you need it to do?  Will the new features truly make a difference?

Stop the lack thinking.

I’m going to do that the next time I get caught up in “I’m all alone” thinking.  The truth is I can’t attend every event.  I don’t want to attend every event.  I don’t invite all my friends to every activity, for varying reasons.  It’s never because I don’t love them.

Facebook is one distorted glimpse into a person’s life.  It is not representative of the whole.  Even if it is, I can choose to feel joy for those friends who are enjoying life rather than feeling that I’ve been left out.  The thing about joy is that it is self-perpetuating and limitless.  My feelings of joy do not take joy away from someone else.  It does the opposite.  Seeing someone express happiness causes a sympathetic response in my brain.  If I chose to be happy every time I saw someone else being happy can you imagine how wonderful that would feel?

That’s how I want to live.  I want to be a happiness vampire minus the draining part.  Lack thinking will happen; when it does I will make a choice to focus on the haves instead of the missings.

Want to give it a try?