"The way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." -- Ghandi
"What?" Is the response we feel when we hear this truth. "It's not about me?" In a me, me, me, I-want-it-now culture we are so often focused on ourselves.
Here is the good news. And trust me, it is good news: It's not all about you. Now... could that take the pressure off a little? This information, when understood correctly, is very calming. We all have a purpose, a reason we are here on planet Earth, and that is what it is about. We are not here to be endlessly interested in our superficial selves and obsess over what we want, what we have and what other people think of us. A Course In Miracles says it beautifully: "Everyone is special and no one is special." Every individual on the planet has something specific and unique to offer, and this truth negates the ego's elevation of other people (and ourselves). We are all from the same source and we all have the capacity to bring light and brilliance into the world.
Here are five real-life examples of why it is not about you (and why that is totally awesome):
Public speaking nerves
When we are nervous before talking to a group, the anxiety we feel makes the speech, the pitch, and the presentation about us. It's not about us! It's about the content, the message, the reason everyone is there to listen. It's for other people to learn something through you. You are just the vessel, my friend.
When we don't get what we want
When you don't get the job, the date, the prize -- whatever it may be -- it is because there is a greater force driving your life. There is a divine hand behind every single life event. So often with retrospect we understand why things did not work out the way we hoped they would and the bigger plan for your life becomes clear. So any negligence on your part aside, it's not about you -- what you did, said or didn't say. Many things just aren't meant to be. Something bigger and better waiting for you.
When we are ignored
When people blow you off, don't respond to you or flake out on you it means nothing about you whatsoever. It certainly does not mean you are not worthy of something or someone's attention. People are busy, distracted and sometimes self-consumed (aha)! -- so take it with a grain of salt.
When haters are hatin'
As I have said before, your greatest critics are actually projecting their own fear, insecurities and envy onto you. When people love to hate its about them and their issues. You actually have nothing to do with it -- so stay out of it and let them talk. The only way it can touch you is if you engage and allow it to.
When you just wanna do your thang!
Your gifts, if you can teach, paint, sell, sing, design, screen write, cook, inspire others, train dogs, whatever you have been blessed with the talent for doing, it exists to serve the world -- not you and your ego. Stop obsessing over whether you are good or worthy enough -- just show us what you got! When you give your all to what you love to do and surrender the outcome, you kinda have it all figured out.
I heard a psychologist recently on the radio say that even forms of light unhappiness evolve from too much self-interest. With too much focus on the self we lose the meaning and understanding of what life is for -- to use our special gifts and talents to make an positive impact on the lives of other people. Remember that you are part of a much larger whole. It is your only job only to figure out what your role is and then to get busy. Don't ask, "What do I want?" but rather, "How best can I contribute?"
Let others help you on your path too -- they may well be using their own precious gifts in doing so.
Now... exhale. And comment telling me what excites you!