I am not sure when and where I first heard the expression, “it’s probably not about you”, but it really stayed with me. It was in reference to having your feelings hurt or getting bent out of shape because of the way someone else treated you. Maybe it was a coworker that didn’t say hello in the morning, or a client that was downright rude over something seemingly insignificant. It’s a natural tendency to spend time and energy being insulted or wondering what they have against you, or what you could have possible done to deserve that type of treatment. It can even make you feel superior to judge and criticize that person, after all, you would never treat someone that way.
When you take the focus off yourself and the way that person made you feel, you realize that you really don’t know how that person is feeling. We really have no idea what someone else is going through in their lives that brings them to that point of interaction with us. We all have our own “stories” and our own “baggage” some might call it, that make us into the person we are at this exact moment.
So the next time you feel the urge to criticize someone’s behavior or feel put out by someone who may not follow what you consider to be a social or even a professional “norm,” stop and think about it first. Maybe that person is carrying a burden that you are not aware of, and although they still have go with their lives, they are doing they best they can just to get through the day, your feelings or expectations of them may not even be on their radar. Remembering that it is probably not about you, and showing that person some compassion, or just giving their space is the kindest thing that you can do for them, and for yourself.