We all know people that think the world revolves around them. In the same way, we all know that the world does not revolve around them. Luckily, I am not here to talk about them, as they do not deserve mentioning, except for when using them as an intro to a blog post. I am here to talk about when we think the world revolves us in terms of everything being our fault, and hopefully, to help people feel less bad about themselves in that regard.
There are many ways people do see that they are the root of all evils. Seeing as I can speak most confidently from my own experience, then that is what I shall do. I will give a simple example of one of the ways that I do this. When I look at people to meet their eye, to say hello in my own unintrusive way, if I get anything other than a resounding and unmistakably happy smile in response, my first thought will be ‘What have I done to upset them?’.
I know realistically, that it is unlikely that that I am the one that has upset them. They might not even be upset. They could just as easily be bored, or tired, or well, anything really. However, as much as I know this, it does not stop it from being true that my first instinct is to think that I must be the reason they are upset. It is not even a question of ‘I wonder if I have upset them’, it is a fact (in my own mind) that I have upset them. The only mystery is the question of how.
The benefit of writing is that it helps me think through things, and through writing this, something has occurred to me. When I look at people to meet their eye, to say hello in my own unintrusive way, when I get a resounding and unmistakably happy smile in response, my first thought is never ‘What have I done to make them happy?’.
By my own logic, both ways of thinking should be sound or neither of them should be. I never think about being the reason someone is happy, but I do think about being the cause of someone’s sadness. Added to this one sided and unfair point of view is the idea that I clearly think that of all the possible things going on in another person’s life and all the people they know or any random thing that could have happened to them, of all those possibilities I must be on the top of the list for making them upset. I can’t decide if this is a negative form of narcissism (not that narcissism is generally seen as a positive trait, except of course by narcissists) or the mother of all guilt complexes.
The point of this post is to help me work through an issue I have and to hopefully help others who feel the same way. As I do not feel comfortable telling people what to think (after all, what the hell do I know?) I will say the following to me and suggest it to you.
I am asking myself, how likely is it that I am the cause of other people’s sadness? Or is it likely that I am the cause on such a frequent basis as I seem to think I am? Even if someone was upset with me, wouldn’t they say something to me about it? If I am not the cause then why am I adding needlessly to my own problems. I wonder if it is possible that I so much want to matter in the world that I will settle for mattering in a way that makes me feel worse and is not even true? I think this is possible for me but I do not presume to speak for others.
Now we come to what should be the conclusion to this post. I have struggled with this in the past, but I have realised something that explains my previous struggles and also the lack of conclusion.
When thinking about or discussing the human mind and how we think, I do not believe there is a conclusion. We change the way we think, we are taught new ideas by others, we can revert back to previous ways of thinking and then overcome then again. Being alive is a continuous process of change and evolution, or stagnation and devolution and a myriad of varieties in between.
What I conclude for myself is to be mindful of the negative ways of thinking and try and change them. I might have to try a few times, or get past them and then regress. The point is to keep trying to be a better person and a happier one, or at the least, a person that does not make life more difficult than it has to be. We ourselves that at least.