I have a secret for you!It is the secret to everything! The secret to the universe. It will sound unbelievable when I first tell you, but it’s true. And once I tell you and you think about it, you’ll realize, it IS True! And once you know it, you won’t be able to un-know it.
If you can’t handle this secret, go ahead and log off now, exit out of this post.. Don’t read to the rest of this page. But if you’re ready.. And if you know you can handle it .. here it is:
Everything is always about you
Nothing is EVER about you
Let me tell you again so it really sinks in:
Every single thing is ALWAYS about you
Nothing, no thing ever, is about you
Crazy, right? Or, maybe right now you’re thinking I’m CRAZY! So if you stuck with me past the big reveal, here is the explanation to this life-changing, life-explaining secret.
Everything is always about YOU
Everything you experience, everything you think, everything you want, everything you need, everything you hope for .. all of it, everything.. It is always about YOU! It is always what you conjure up in your mind. It’s always seen through your perspective by you.
You are always the center of your universe and everything revolves around you in your mind. You can only see the world through your own eyes. You can only hear comments, and news, and instructions and questions with your filters. You make sense of everything you encounter based on your own awareness, thinking, memories, perspectives, preferences, beliefs.. All of it! And those are yours- they are personal and unique to you.
So, whenever you encounter ANYTHING.. You think about it with your own thinking habits.. Your brain uses your personal neural pathways that you’ve been using your whole life to process the information.
And, immediately.. Because the human brain has evolved with the number one priority of self-preservation and survival and continuation of your own DNA, you evaluate any new information as either a threat to you or a benefit to you personally.
This applies to the most important and to the most mundane. When you hear a loud, unsettling noise – you automatically think about if it’s a threat or a benefit to you (even if this thinking happens without you even thinking) and when you choose the socks you’ll wear to work out today.. You are unconsciously deciding (or maybe already decided.. And you’re following a habit) that sets you up to pursue pleasure or avoid pain.. for yourself.
So, whenever you encounter ANYTHING.. You always, immediately make it about YOU first.
All of your feelings are a result of what you think.. And you can only think inside of your own brain, with your own thinking habits and preferences, and long held beliefs and assumptions.
And.. if you don’t notice and watch your thoughts, you may forget that you’re the one thinking the thoughts that create your emotions, so you might forgetfully assume that the way you feel is because of what happened, not because of what YOU are thinking about what happened.
Not because of what you are making it mean. Not because you always, immediately make everything mean something about YOU first. So, that is why everything is ALWAYS about you and, more specifically, YOUR thoughts.
That’s the first part of my claim: Everything is always about you. It is because your brain naturally thinks it is.
Nothing is EVER about you
At the same time that all of your thinking about everything is happening inside of your brain- with YOU being the center of all that thinking, everyone else in the world – your partner, your friends, your family, your coworkers, your strangers, EVERYONE else is also the center of their own universes..
That’s right- they are the center, Not YOU! So, that means, NOTHING else is ever, ever about you! Nothing. Ever!
Whatever other people do, or say, or create, or how they behave..
Whatever they don’t do, or don’t say, or don’t acknowledge.. Whatever happens outside of your brain is not about you. Ever.
It’s either something that happened naturally, with no human involvement, so that, of course, it has nothing to do with you. Or, it’s something that someone else did, or said, or didn’t do – and if it was generated in someone else’s brain, then it’s about THEM.. not you.
Never you! It has nothing to do with you!
Now you know the Secret
And with this knowledge comes awareness, and with this awareness comes POWER!
It’s not about you and It’s always about you!
You are able to separate what is about you, and what has nothing to do with you.
You know I love a good resistance check, right? So, this feels like a perfect time to check in.. if you’re still with me.. To find out if you 100% agree with my claim
(my brain is telling me that you do.. Because it makes perfect sense to me in my head- so why wouldn’t it make perfect sense to you?) Or – is this explanation a little too far out there for you right now?
Can you imagine that everything you think about is “about you” because you’re the one thinking about it?And, can you imagine that anything that happens outside of your brain is NOT about you, because it was created outside of your brain, in someone else’s brain?
Or, because it’s just a neutral circumstance that 100 different people would have 100 different thoughts about?
Let’s get specific.. and personal.
Recently, I invited my friends to a Sunday brunch! And since this was during March of 2020, it was a virtual brunch.. On a video call. I devised a little game we could play together on our brunch – not that we needed a game, we always have plenty to talk about..
But the reason why I wanted the game was a selfish one.. Of course it was! It’s always all about me, right?
I was thinking of some questions I had about myself, and for myself.. And since I really value the opinions, and different thinking styles and perspectives of my friends, I also wanted to hear their answers to the questions I had about myself. I wanted to compare and contrast our answers. So, as I was thinking about how I would ask my friends to generously and thoughtfully answer these questions about me for MY OWN research, I realized, I also had opinions and perspectives to share with them about these questions for them. And that’s when I realized it could be a game.
The Newlywed Game
Have you ever heard of the 70’s TV Game Show called The Newlywed Game? The idea was that newly married couples would answer questions about each other to illuminate how well they knew or thought they knew each other. Of course, excitement and drama popped up when the questions were a little risque or if someone misinterpreted a question or answer or when the answer that the husband and wife gave were comically and extremely different.
But, that’s not what I was trying to create with this game.. I didn’t want any excitement or drama, I wanted authentic insight and perspective.
So, I listed out some of the questions I had been thinking about that I wanted my friends to give me their insight on and that I wanted to answer for my friends, and I put all the questions into a grid, with our names across the top, and I made up a cute, fun name for the game – The Friendlywed Game – and wrote some instructions and sent it out to my friends to work on before joining the ZoomBrunch.
And then, I went to work thoughtfully thinking about and answering the questions about each of my friends – it was a great exercise!
I love my friends. I’m so excited for them and what they’re doing in their lives. I see so much potential! I want to give them encouragement, and support and I want to point out possible unhelpful habits I observe and question their decisions that I see, that I think are made from scarcity. So I wrote it all down. And when I was finished filling out the grid.. I looked at everything I had written..
And thought about the answers that I had carefully considered, individually, for each one of my unique, different friends.. And I LAUGHED OUT LOUD!I laughed because I realized – it was all about ME!
All the ideas I had could apply to me, all the advice I gave was great advice for ME! All the things I pointed out that they could watch out for were things I thought were important in my personality! Funny, right? But SO ENLIGHTENING!
The Friendlywed game worked SO GREAT for that brunch with the 4 of us meeting on a conference call and reading out answers to each other and hearing each other’s perspectives, that I decided I wanted MORE of it. So, I offered to do it on a phone call with another friend of mine – this time it would just be the 2 of us answering about each other.
And as you can imagine, it happened again! And this time we both laughed, with.. And at each other, when we noticed that what I offered her as something she might work on, was something I thought was a strength in myself.And when she gave me some helpful advice on how to improve.. It was on a topic that she already excelled at. We noticed that our answers lined up – when I drew a line from the similarities of the answers in my column to the offers in her column, it made a perfectly symmetrical X!
We both saw what we offered to the other was what we valued in ourselves! It was fun and funny!
Everything that we answered for the other person was really all about us. Nothing that the other person said about us, was actually about us!
Everything and Nothing Awareness
The BEST thing about this Everything and Nothing awareness is that now you can release all the resistance about what other people “think” and feel and do.
You can remind yourself.. Even when they are thinking about you.. (like my friends were in the Newlywed Game), that they’re not really.. They’re thinking about themselves. They’re thinking about YOU through their own perspective. Just like when you’re thinking about someone else.. You’re really just thinking about yourself (in relation to them).
Now, with this knowledge that everything you think is you thinking from your own perspective, you have the ability to learn to manage your own thinking, and now you don’t have to try to manage anyone else’s thinking.
Another Great Benefit
This secret also applies to CONTROL.
If you realize and accept that you control NOTHING outside of you and EVERYTHING in your own brain.. Then you’ve got it made!You no longer resist not being able to control events, circumstances, other people, other people’s feelings and other people’s actions.
You no longer think you need to control the outcome of anything.
You no longer think you have control over anything outside of your own brain – even people that you’ve given birth to! Or people who you support! Or people who you’ve made legal and spiritual commitments with!
Even things you’ve meticulously planned for and paid for.
You no longer need to think you have any control over any of those – because, now you know, you control NOTHING – except for your own thoughts!
So many of us mistakenly believe, for good reason, and with good intention, that we can control things and people outside of us!
We want our partners to be happy and healthy.
We want things to turn out well. We want our employers to know we are valuable. We want kids to grow up into responsible, mature, well-adjusted adults.
What a myth! What a misunderstanding!
We can’t control our partner’s feelings or body! We can’t control how things turn out! We can’t inject knowledge into our employers’ brains! We can’t dictate how kids will mature. We can’t control how other people will think or feel about us – or anything.
Yet, we spend so much time and energy and attention thinking we can, thinking we should, thinking it’s our job. We (subconsciously) tell ourselves that trying to control outside situations and circumstances and other people is a worthy activity.
If you’re a mom, you might think controlling how your kids feel and behave and grow up is your responsibility.
If you’re a spouse, you might think controlling how your partner feels about you and their mood in general is part of your commitment.
If you’re an employee, you might think controlling your boss’s opinion of you is how you ensure your continued employment, and therefore your survival.
None of those things are even possible!
What are you Thinking?
Are you sitting there thinking:
NO! Taking care of my kids IS MY JOB!
And NO! I did make a commitment to make my spouse happy when we got married!
And NO! I DO have to ensure my survival by making sure my boss doesn’t fire me!
Ok, let’s back it up and dig into each of those claims:
if you’re a parent, or an aunt (like I am) or just a member of a civilized society, yes, of course – thinking it’s our job to take care of kids is a worthy belief! But thinking we can control how they feel? How they behave?
No. Sorry. We really can’t!
And yes, of course, in your vows, during your ceremony, you may have committed to spending the rest of your life making your true love happy – it’s a beautiful sentiment! But really, you’ve gotta know.. You don’t have the ability to make anyone else feel any emotion.
We all feel our own emotions because of our own thoughts- and we all choose our own thoughts from our own perspective (because remember.. Everything is about us!)
So do you see how you control NOTHING? NOTHING outside of your own brain?And therefore, do you see how you MUST control your brain! How you can no longer resist controlling yourself? (if you have been)
You ARE in Control
Now I hope you realize, you ARE in control of how you react to every circumstance – and I hope you realize that your reaction to every circumstance, good or bad, expected or unexpected, hoped for or feared.. Every single circumstance that comes your way..
YOU are in control of how YOU want to react to it. So liberating right! It really is literally liberating to realize this.
Search for Meaning
Have you ever heard of Viktor Frankl? He’s a writer and psychologist who wrote, among other things, Man’s Search for Meaning. He recounted his experiences as a prisoner in a concentration camp and he wrote
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
I think about that truth often. And I often think about what he endured, what he must have been thinking as he was being imprisoned, and starved and terrorized.. As everything – his family, his children, his wife, his life, his freedom, his clothes, his shoes, his dignity, his safety, his well-being, his health, everything was ripped away from him.. And he still found his own power to choose in his mind. He still found growth.
I love to use this as an example for myself.
If Viktor Frankl could do this in a concentration camp, I can deal with this situation in traffic.. Or the grocery store.. Or wherever I’m being offered a circumstance that feels like my resources and freedom is being threatened.
If Viktor Frankl could find freedom and growth in a concentration camp, I, for sure, can find freedom and growth while I’m choosing to confine myself in my beautiful, comfortable home with access to the internet, and technology.. And all my belongings..and a fridge full of food, and 24 hours a day with the man I love.
3 things you can Notice
You can apply and practice the Everything and Nothing theory in your own life:
Notice your reactions to whatever’s happening for you in your life.
If you hear yourself start to think: she’s doing [this] to me, or they’re making me [that].. Or, now that [this happens], it means [that]… remember – nothing is about you!
Whatever she’s choosing or whatever they’re deciding is about them and their own thoughts.. Not about you!
Whatever happened in the world is just what happened. It’s not about you specifically.
You get to choose your reaction to whatever happens, to whatever other people decide to do.
Notice when you’re thinking things outside of you are controlling you:
And, since now you know you control yourself – that things outside of you don’t control you- you do..
You can notice when you say things like:
I have to
I need to
Notice Expectations and Standards you’ve set for yourself and others
You can notice expectations and standards that you’ve set for yourself (and other people) and remember, you decided on those expectations and standards..
How did you decide on them?
What measuring stick are you using?
What’s the point scale you’re grading yourself by?
How are you deciding if you’re good or bad? Worthy or unworthy?
And.. when you apply those expectations and standards to other people, you can remember, they didn’t sign on to your rule book. They may not be aware of (or even care about) your grading scale for them.
I wonder what else you’ll notice as you let your mind sink deeper into this idea. Where else will you realize you have so much power? Or no power at all? What examples will you think of that prove that everything is always about you? What evidence will you remember that shows you that nothing is ever about you?
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.. But, since I know this secret, I know that my hope doesn’t cause you to feel enjoyment – only your own thoughts cause you to feel that or any emotion.