It’s almost never about you.
The story was there way before you came along.
The person who belittles your art, stomps on your dreams, shuns you for shining – they’re ashamed of where they are.
The person you abandoned – they were already telling that story before you came along.
The person who feels betrayed – they were already believing in betrayal.
The person you wanted to love, whom you hurt -they were already carrying the burden of hurt.
The person who attacks you for doing your job – they feel guilty because they think they didn’t do theirs.
The person who went broke because of you – they were already broke.
(the same often goes for upside-type stories)
People who feel broken tell the story of being broken. People who feel insignificant tell the story of being insignificant, or significant to compensate, and maybe, often, at the expense of others. People who are afraid tell the story of being afraid.
We all have our stories – tell me someone who is exempt and I will tell you the story of someone who is private.
The only thing we can do, is stick around to help each other tell new stories. And sometimes, you can’t stick around long enough (beyond eternity) to help someone believe a new story they don’t want to believe. When you extend your hand to someone is holding on tightly to a sinking boat or a burning bush, they’ve got to be willing to take it. Sometimes, you just have to walk away and tell your own story.
It dawned on me today, what I read many years ago in The Four Agreements, the first rule is “Take Nothing Personally”. It really didn’t mean much to me until today. As I witnessed myself living something this morning, and thinking how this had absolutely nothing to do with me, I back tracked through so many experiences I’ve had recently and connected all the dots and I remembered the first rule. And that’s not a cop out plan for where you’re dodging accountability, or when you’re being a coward, or an excuse to treat people with lower standards than you would want for yourself.
Everyone’s got a story, tune in, tap in, be present, but whatever it is – don’t take it personal.
And most importantly are you pointing an external finger to a story you’re telling internally? What’s your story?