It’s Not About You (Unless It Is)

In a now famous
Colbrese family story,
my daughter and I
are moving my son and
all his worldly goods
into his first dorm room.
Three flights up.
In August.
Overcome with heat and emotion,
(mostly emotion)
I burst into tears and start wailing:
“I’m hot! I’m hot! I can’t do this! I’m dying!”
To which, my daughter grabs me by both shoulders,
and says:
“It’s hot. We’re all hot.
Hot is not something that’s happening just to you.”
A useful reminder:
It’s not about me.
(unless it is)
Today, when a client, a friend, a man
doesn’t call, doesn’t show, doesn’t respond
exactly as I would have liked
with exactly the words, tone and pre-agreed upon
description of my awesomeness,
it’s not necessarily a personal affront to me.
(unless it is)
I’m coming to learn
there’s a remarkably good chance
that the other person’s words and/or behavior
have nothing to do with me.
(unless it does)
I’m reminded of Ellsworth Toohey’s desperate plea to
Howard Roark:
“Why don’t you tell me what you think of me in any words you wish.”
And Howard’s infamous reply:
“But I don’t think of you.”
It’s not about you, Ellsworth.
(unless it is).

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