Archive for May, 2010

It’s not all about me…Part I

May 31, 2010

I’ve been working on this post for a few days now.  I think this version will have to suffice as an introduction to a project on self-improvement.  But don’t worry, this blog is mostly about the funny stuff.  There’s only so much self-reflection I can handle without an iv-infusion of coffee.

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I am really good in an emergency.  I keep my head.  I see what needs doing and I do it.  If  am in the way, I get out.  I do not panic at the sight of blood.  I have seen wounds assessed for stitches without flinching.

The big stuff I can handle.

It’s the small stuff that’s the problem.

I mean the really itty-bitty stuff.  Letting someone know that I’ll show up early just for them, only to have them call off the meeting after I arrive.  Complete strangers offering me advice that appears to be thinly veiled criticism,  someone taking for granted that I can rearrange my life to make the day simpler for them.

All these little things aren’t even about me.  My generation believes that ‘we deserve the best, because we are the best.’   We think that if we don’t break the rules, we deserve to get off easy.  What happened to believing that everything happens for a reason?  The bad stuff, like spinach, is hard to swallow, but it makes us stronger.  It’s much, much better to go through some of the rocky parts than to have a smooth ride your entire life.  An all-ice cream diet will only take you so far.

I know that if I were honest with myself, this week’s frustrations stem from an over-developed ego.  A friend forgetting to call about a change of plan isn’t a reflection of me or an indication of her commitment to our friendship.  The old lady at the supermarket wasn’t commenting on my ability to parent when she suggested the baby might need a sweater.  Just because I perceived a rebuke doesn’t mean one was there.  I am asked to help, not because I am the sucker who always says yes,  or even because I am helpful, but because help is needed.  It’s not all about me.

But if I make it all about me, I get to focus on me, which takes my mind off of things I should be focusing on:  a friend with a problem;  well intended advice, or a baby in need of a sweater.  If I make it all about me, I get to focus on me, and not anyone else.

In 1994, John Nash won the Nobel Prize for mathematics.  Part of his theory, which has applications in the fields of economics, game theory, biology, military tactics, and more, includes the idea that you get the best outcome not just by doing what’s best for you, but by doing what’s best for you as a part of a larger group.

It’s not all about me.