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“It’s not about you…”

…a famous person once said, “it’s about me.”

I was reminded of the tagline of this blog as I thought about a recent email exchange.  Several negative assumptions were made, based on an action that I took and this person chalked them all up to me as someone who was judging her. Truth: I could care less how someone runs their own life or makes parenting choices.  After many years working with women, often survivors of intimate partner violence, I’ve learned to let people make their own choices…regardless of what I think or might do instead. And when I discover something new or that I’m unsure of, I do what I do best: gather information so I can make an informed decision for myself.

Because it’s not about you; it’s all about me.

I think we all do this.  But sometimes we forget we do this because the searching for our own best answer is inward, almost unconscious process while at the same time, an invisible one to others.  Most of us don’t have the time to watch others do their own discovery work.  Truthfully, it’s less about time, though, isn’t it?  It’s more about the fact that if it’s not about us, we’re usually not that concerned.  You generally don’t care why someone can’t host the next book club; you just need to know that they can’t do it so we all move on and find someone else who can. That’s the bottom line.  No one really cares about the details or the back story.  shutterstock_58968394We have too many details (passwords, deadlines, due dates, birthdays, etc.) that we need to track on a regular basis to care about adding more to our chockfull life.

I also do my own information gathering because while I appreciate anecdotal information, especially with parenting issues, I do like to gather as much evidence-based information as I can. Personally, I’ve also noticed a blurring of these lines quite a bit in online forums like Facebook and Twitter.  In my training as a post-partum doula, we were taught to only offer evidence-based information to clients.  Clients may ask what I did as a mom with my own baby and I can offer that…but I must qualify it as my own experience.   It makes me a bit uncomfortable when experiences are passed off as fact so I always try and get the stories straight, for my own sake.

Some days when the sleep was poor or the teething seems like it will never end, I doubt whether I can meet some of my loftier goals. But I never doubt what they are.  And they have nothing to do with you.  It’s all about me and what kind of person I am trying to become. If we could all remember this golden rule more often, I suspect less time would be spent in judgment, anger and drama and more time would be allowed for the things that truly matter: personal peace of mind, tolerance and support of others’ choices.  Those are things that we can all use a bit more of in this life.