My sister used to live in Birmingham, and I live in Atlanta. One time a few years ago, I gave her a call to wish her happy birthday. A few days later, we talked again, and I asked her how her birthday turned out. She told me that she had actually been in Atlanta to have her birthday dinner with her husband’s family at one of my favorite restaurants.
My first reaction was, “How dare she do that to me!” I felt hurt and angry with my sister.
I realized something from my prior work with the Twelve Steps. In the 4th step, I had to work on my character defects. I discovered that in every situation I tend to think that it’s all about me. When things don’t go my way, I think people were purposely out to get me. That’s pretty selfish when you think about it.
In this case, it was my sister’s day, and she only had a few hours in Atlanta with her husband to meet with his elderly parents and his sister. It had nothing to do with me, and I had to let that go. Once I remembered that, I forgave my sister and was able to take a genuine interest in how her birthday turned out.
I’ve learned through my work in the 12 step program that when people act in a way that I would have thought hurtful towards me that it often has nothing to do with me at all. They never had any intention to hurt me, it was just the result of something going on with them, and I should have let it all go.
This realization has given me much more peace in my daily life. I don’t jump to conclusions, and I’m able to let things go much more easily. It has also helped in my relationships with others. Most people are doing the best they can dealing with there own situations, and I need to be more understanding and compassionate. The big breakthrough was when I learned that it is not always about me.
Submitted by: Catherine W.