“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” ~Wayne Dyer
It’s not about you.
As a teacher I learned it is not about you. Everyone is on their own path--plugging along just as clueless as you (for the most part). They hit speed bumps, terrible experiences, and struggles with love and relationships. The more you respect this rule, “It’s not about you,” the more self-esteem you’ll likely have. It provides a lens to view the world and the actions of those around you and you start to see how it really isn’t about you. So what am I talking about?
When I was a teacher I worked with students with emotional disturbances. Everyday I would go in and my ego would be tested (are you seeing a theme here?). I’d say to the students, “Please take out your pen and paper and begin writing down the notes for today.” Many times, I’d get a response like, “Go f--k yourself you white f---ing b-tch!” Hmmm, nice!
At first, my reaction was of shock. Gasp! I never talked to an adult like that! Plus, I was just asking them to take out a pen and paper to take notes for Pete’s sake! A simple task-- with a please! It only took several times of having my ego stamped on, that I started to look at the situation more objectively. That’s when I started to laugh (instead of cry!). I didn’t deserve a response like that and I was stupid to think that their response was really about me! Of course it wasn’t! It was really about what I represented to them, or it was a reflection of what they learned about treating someone, or about the fact that many of them could barely read and write. Either way--it wasn’t about me.
This really got me thinking. Why was I so shocked at that behavior, after all, they were classified as students with emotional disturbances (whatever that means). I was shocked because I had an expectation of the way to be treated. But that was my expectation that I placed on them. I started thinking, is that really fair that I had an expectation on them they didn’t even know about. Would they have still responded in that fashion if I had allowed them access to my expectation? Who knows, but I started to realize that my disappointments in life were directly related to the expectations I had place on people. In addition, I’ve found myself a lot more satisfied because I rarely get disappointed by people.
The equation is simple. The more self-esteem you have, the less ego you have. The more ego you have the less self-esteem you have. That’s just the way it is. They are proportional. You can’t raise one without the other falling. That’s because when ego is the lens you view the world with, it’s all about you --and truthfully, it’s not all about you.