You’re not the center of the universe.
I know that may sound harsh, but it’s a powerful insight once you accept it.
That email you’re not getting a reply to? It’s not necessarily about what you wrote, but what the recipient is going through.
That business you’re not getting? It’s not necessarily about whether or not you’ve got the chops, but instead about what’s going on for everybody else.
That harsh word that just cut you to your core? It’s not necessarily about your relationship or interaction with the other person, but instead about some hard battle they’re fighting elsewhere.
The kind word that goes unnoticed? It’s not about them being ungrateful, but about what else is going on in the world. (Check your heart if you expect a return from a gift.)
Your good energy that goes out in the world? Well, it doesn’t always come back in the way you think it will or should. But maybe it reached someone who needed it more? (Tweet this.)
From one perspective, it seems like we cause a reaction. From another, it looks like we’re the agent being acted upon. It’s maddening that both are true, but not being the center of the universe means that we’re a part of a vast network of interactions, causes, and effects, most of which we can’t account for and a small few of which we can actually understand.
The next time you’re fretting about something or too focused on what you’re up to, take a second to reflect on the fact that you’re not the center of the universe. You might find that you don’t need any other explanation — and that a lot of emotional weight is lifted from your shoulders.
Fred Leo says
Great point Charlie. We all make the mistake of thinking that people are focused on us. 99% of the time people are thinking of themselves.
Great point. I wish more people would understand that not everyone cares about them. In fact, if you want to connect with others, it’s best to lose yourself and focus on others
Archan Mehta says
In fact, this article is like a diamond: useful and practical. You are spot on here.
For many of us, well, we are the center of the universe. We like to pretend that our word is final, that people need to be sensitive to our needs and wants, tastes and preferences.
In the real world, however, it does not work that way. Nine times out of ten, people just do not care about you; they have their own concerns and priorities; they have to wrestle with their own demons. And they are too busy to focus on you anyway. There are things to do.
This self-centred approach can get in the way of your personal and professional relationships and can prevent you from making progress too. When you get a job, the first lesson you learn is: the boss is always right; the customer is king. Of course, this is not always true–it is quite absurd, actually–but you get the picture, right? If you want to hold on to your day job, you have to develop a thick skin and learn to focus on others and their needs. Nobody cares about you here. This is the real world and it is hard as nails.
Even if you leave your day job–and decide to become an entrepreneur–you are still going to have to walk the extra mile for your clients/customers. With them, you are in business. Without them, you get to close shop. The earlier you learn this lesson, the better for you.
I think what is lacking is empathy. Some people lack the ability to step into the shoes of other people. They are too quick to judge others without taking the time to understand others. No two snowflakes are exactly the same. Similarly, everybody is unique and has unique life circumstances and faces unique challenges. When you become other-oriented, yoyou quickly learn that analysis is important. Instead of judgment and action, you then learn to value quiet reflection. And that is what philosophers like you do. Good for you.
Keith Thompson says
Wow! Wisdom unleashed!
Marcia Francois says
Um, sadly, I needed to read this today.
I’ve been cross with people not rsvp’ing to invites, whiny about no new clients, etc.
thanks, i think 🙂
no, really, great post, Charlie.
Totally reminds me of the 4 agreements. Don’t assume, take things personally, etc.
Relationships, after all, are 2-way. There is what is done/said and what is received! Great post 🙂
Agatha Tefora says
I totally agree. I think everyone thinks that we are the center of our own. The same way people don’t see you as theirs. We live in a selfish world. We prioritize ourselves and our own needs. But hey, we are not alone and there are a lot of things going around the globe.
Extreme John says
Thanks so much for this post. Thank you for reminding me that “I am not the center of the universe.” Sometimes I forget about this universal rule in my day-to-day routine. So glad to have bumped into this post which truly bumped my head saying “You are not the center of the universe.” So thanks for reminding Charlie. 🙂
Maria Purrpl says
It’s hard not to take things personally when dealing with our own and other’s personalities. Yin & Yang swirl around each other, perfectly balanced, for a reason. They give each other the energy to keep moving.
Peace & Love~
Mitch Mitchell says
Hmmm… I get the point, and I know you’re correct to a major degree. And I know I should let go of it but I just can’t always do that. In a way, it’s the thing about “why should I continue to suffer just because someone else exhibits bad behavior? How come it always has to be me tolerating bad behavior and turning the other cheek?”
I’ve done a lot of that, and I just can’t do it 24/7 at this juncture of my life. As Dr. Phil says, you teach people how to treat you. In some circumstances, you just have to take a stand and, like my wife says, “smack a puppy”, not because of hate but because of right.
Yeah, I know; bad Mitch. I bet you know my shoes. lol
Charlie Gilkey says
No judgment here, and note that there’s a difference between understanding the world is not about you and doing nothing and understanding that and doing something after you’ve reflected on that.
It makes the difference between smacking the puppy because you need to smack the puppy and smacking a puppy because it needs to be smacked.
And, yes, it’s a daily practice – and I fail many times a day.
Scott @ PSI Seminars says
Another way to look at this might be: I am not the center of the universe, I AM the universe.
All of that disagreement, all of that negative emotion, arises from the idea that we are separate from each other, which is an illusion.
Some find that idea disconcerting… I find it empowering.
Mynde Mayfield says
This is all wrong! Scientifically, everyone is the center of the universe.
You may not be the center of THE Universe, but you are the center of YOUR Universe. Take control of your universe and you can do everything.