It isn’t all about me.

paranoia

What I’m learning is that everything isn’t always about me.

I used to always assume people were obsessing in a negative way about me and would interpret, say, a neutral expression or a lukewarm greeting as “that person must be upset with me/hate me/is mad at me/disapproves of me” etc. Sometimes I have to make a conscious effort not to let my mind go in this direction if someone acts in a way other than thrilled to see me. Sometimes they’re just having a bad day, are angry at someone else, or angry in general, or are generally just an asshole to everyone. Sometimes it’s nothing at all other than my choosing to perceive a neutral expression or body language as something negative. It takes a lot of practice to get out of that habit of paranoia and hypervigilance and I always have to remind myself to stop taking every little thing personally and think outside myself instead. I think this is a prerequisite to being able to empathize–being mindful that someone else might have a problem that has nothing to do with me.

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3 thoughts on “It isn’t all about me.

  1. “I think this is a prerequisite to being able to empathize–being mindful that someone else might have a problem that has nothing to do with me.”

    I KNOW it’s a prerequisite for sanity, in addition to a phrase I have sometimes wanted to actually shout after reading some of your posts. Aren’t you glad I controlled myself on most of those occasions?

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