“It’s not about you” are some of the most powerful words that have influenced my life. And they are the opening words to a book that annoyed the living daylights out of me: Purpose Driven Life. It annoyed me because there are parts where it talks about Christians this and Christians that, and I feel like, wtf? what about the rest of the world? (Again, we are bastards like usual). Ok, ok, put that aside and take the few things that you like. Or maybe the one thing that you really, really like: It’s not about you.
It’s not about you means that when another person treats you bad it has NOTHING to do with you. It means that when a person rejects you, it has nothing to do with you. It’s not about you means that when you work in a café in an Ivy League University, all the classism and prejudice that you undergo is not about you but about the other person’s ignorance: They still believe in their own fairy tale.
When people believe that you are not entitled to god anything because you don’t believe in their religion, they are believing in a fairy tale; when people believe in their own superiority because of their higher class, they are believing in a fairy tale; when people believe that their idea of reality is all the reality that exists, they are believing in a fairy tale. None of this has anything to do with you.
Also, making somebody else’s life choices about you is one of the quickest ways to undergo mental suffering and, consequently, create unneeded dramas. “It’s not about you” is actually very liberating!
But take it to the next level: Your own success is not about you, in the small-you, ego way. It’s not so you can prove your point or “show ’em”. It’s not so you can win. It’s not so you can finally measure up and join the cool club. Anything that has anything to do with how other people finally see you or approve of you is a shaky ground to stand on. That tiny idea of you is not what your success is about.
I like the idea of your success being about the great thing you are giving to the world, and how you are able to serve even more people. I think it’s about living your mission, your purpose (as they say in Purpose Driven Life). Yes, it is about your authentic freedom and happiness (which will never give a damn about what the social surroundings say & think about you!). It’s about the Great You standing in your glory. That, my dear, is worth giving up all the ego in the world for.
If you ever get a chance to read Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, A Long Walk to Freedom, you will see an example of a great man who did not make his work about himself. He did not make his suffering about himself either, nor his imprisonment, nor the insults that the guards hit him with on a regular basis. Since it wasn’t about him (and his tiny, weak, pathetic ego), he was not able to be crushed mentally. Every step of the way, he served, and he leaned on his religion for strength, but didn’t put his ideas first (in front of the way he treated other people). His ultimate success as the greatest politician in the world was also not about him. I’m sure he enjoyed the luxuries and the way he could influence and inspire, but none of this was about his small ego “finally making it”. It wasn’t about him.
It’s not about you means that when you have to create something new and you don’t know what you’re doing and all your fears come up to freak you out, that you realize that this thing your inner self or higher self or god is calling you to do is not about you or your comfort zone. (Comfort zone is just small-self not wanting to stretch). Also, the Universe does not cater to your small-self and nobody else should ever have to, because catering to your small-self is letting you play victim forever when answers are at your fingertips; it’s agreeing with your idea of your weakness and that there are, in fact, no answers; it’s agreeing with the idea that you are right in being offended when someone else is an asshole to you (but if you don’t make it about you, you can’t be offended).
Catering to everyone’s small-selves is the surest way to make sure nobody advances. Expressions of small-self come in all forms and can be identified by the fact that the person feels superior or inferior depending on their walk of life, social status, age, degree, experience, lack of all these, etc. When your emotional self reacts to anything physical, meaningless people’s opinions, how you look in society, etc. that is making it about you, and that is letting your small-self drive.
Your great-self is powerful, wise, vibrant, knows how to find answers, trusts it’s inner compass, is true to itself, no waves knock it down, good & bad opinions aren’t even noticed, and it loves to grow constantly. It also loves adventure and seeing beauty in all things and all people.
This part of you can be tapped into on a regular basis, but not if you make every stupid thing in the world about you! Not if you think your greatness has anything to do with the ego-you.
Sometimes trusting yourself makes you look terribly bad in other people’s eyes; and sometimes those eyes that are looking at you are the ones that matter most in your life. Most people aren’t willing to undergo this pain, so they stay stuck in their tiny circle of repetition. I think making it ‘not about you’ is the only way to deal with the psychological pain of being judged by the ones you love the most. This is the only thing that worked for me. I’ve had to remind myself every single day and keep pushing forward. I was the nut that started growing roots and branches and no matter how much people around me protested, they eventually had to come around because their fears did not come true. They shut up when they can no longer deny that ok, it’s an oak.
In the end, your loved ones are still there and you have your freedom too. Nothing can be better.
And it all starts with, “It’s not about you”.