Last week, I spoke to the idea of saying or thinking, “Bad karma,” to deflect nasty or hurtful comments. My mother would say, “I hope they feel better,” or, “Bless them on their way.” Another quick response to put in your mental wellness toolbox is, “It’s not about me.”
Has anyone looked you in the eye and yelled or inferred you were wrong or stupid? Have you been corrected or reprimanded in front of friends or co-workers? I have. It does not feel good. It is humiliating. Merriam Webster defines humiliating as extremely destructive to one’s
self-respect or dignity.
Think of a time someone made you feel small and embarrassed. Recall the event and then say to yourself, “It’s not about me.” The truth is, it is not about you. It is about the person doing the putdowns, accusing, or yelling. Even in love relationships, breakups are more often about the dumper than the dumped.
Spouses, bosses, parents, you, me, or anyone can lash-out when upset about something or someone. Feelings of fear, frustration, hurt, and unfairness build and release on any unfortunate bystander. Think about road-rage or the person criticizing a food server. The driver did not signal a lane change, and the food server forgot to bring requested salsa to the table, but the blame of hand gesturing or saying something unkind is on the disgruntled person. We cannot take responsibility unless we have authority. Saying to yourself, “It’s not about me,” is accurate and helps you reject the burden of someone else’s emotions.
During a conflict, it is easier to point a finger toward another person. On the other hand, it is also easy to take the blame. It is common to say, “I’m so sorry,” and assume your error caused someone else’s actions. If ten random people watched the same event, all would likely have a
different response. We are not to blame for someone else’s behavior. We only have control of ourselves.
To be mentally healthy, we must learn to put the blame where it belongs. Take responsibility when we’re wrong, but think, “It’s not about me,” when someone shows an inappropriate or excessive reaction. The four little words can save a lot of heartaches.
Mental wellness is sketchy when we don’t take responsibility for ourselves, and also when we believe someone else’s behavior is our fault.
Closing with two equations to help you remember:
My action = IS about me.
Your action = Is NOT about me.
Until the next time: Live while you live.
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