Life is not about you. It’s all about me.
I didn’t say these words to my mother on the other end of the phone. Instead, I screamed them to my husband when I had finished the call.
I had my reasons for being so selfish, and they seemed like good ones. I lived 3,000 miles away. I had no family close by. My three children only saw their grandmother two times a year.
When my toddler had just said his first word after months of speech therapy, and my daughter has been chosen to be the frog in the Kindergarten classroom play, I needed someone to share my excitement. So, I picked up the phone. It was my bragging time.
I didn’t want to hear about my brother’s children who were running around my mother’s feet twice a week.
Yet it wasn’t distance that was the problem. It was my attitude. I was concerned for my interests, not those of others.
My self-serving perspective was undermining the very relationships I wanted to strengthen.
I couldn’t have a conversation be all about me and pass fault on the other person for not responding in the way I wanted. Blame only adds distance to a relationship.
It wasn’t my mother’s, my brother’s, or anyone else’s responsibility I was the other side of the Atlantic. Only my own.
Life was not all about me, or my children. I should have been glad to hear about my nieces and nephews. Anyway, I suspected family at home probably got sick of hearing about my children and me in America.
It took an ocean to make me realize I needed to change the way I was reacting.
Sometimes, it’s harder to realize you’re distancing yourself from the people you care about when they’re right on your doorstep.
• You can cling on to finding fault, or you can let go and move forward.
• Being self-seeking is not good for our emotional, physical or spiritual health. We are happier and healthier when we are charitable.
• It’s better to build bridges than burn them.
• What seems like common sense, is also a God-way of living.
As the poem Always by Keith M. Kent says:
People are unreasonable, illogical, self-centered
…love them anyway.
Further reading on how blaming hurts relationships is available in Psychology Today.