I recently misinterpreted some signals from a friend that led me to the conclusion that he was mad at me. I didn’t come out and ask him if he was until I saw him later and he told me that what I had interpreted as him being mad at me, actually had nothing to do with me at all. There were other things going on his life that had created the situation.
Then he said something to me that struck me very hard. He said “the universe doesn’t revolve around you, Deb”.
Now had that come from anyone else I would have let that comment upset me to the point of probably not talking to the person for awhile. I have a tendency to avoid that which makes me uncomfortable. But this person is a close friend whom I know always has my best interests at heart. So instead of getting upset, I chose to hear his words and consider them carefully.
Is it true? Do I think the universe revolves around me? I am a highly self-conscious person. I am very aware of everything I say and do. Checking and rechecking my comments in my head before I say them, doing the same with my appearance so that nothing is out of place.
I know this comes from my anxiety about myself and the world around me. It’s my way of controlling myself, my emotions, my thoughts so that people only see what I want them to see. But have I crossed the line from being anxiously self-conscious to selfishly self-absorbed?
When I think of the times I am having a conversation with a friend, barely listening to what they are saying because I am too busy formulating in my head what I am going to say next, the answer is yes.
When I take so long picking out just the right outfit that I’m running late and have no time to stop for a birthday card for a friend, the answer is yes.
When I choose to delete a great photo of one of my kids because I wasn’t looking my absolute best, the answer is yes.
How many times have I let my anxiety keep me from enjoying the moment and appreciating my friends and family. I’m grateful to my friend, that he had the courage to bring this to my attention because now that I’m aware of it, I can do something about it.