This weekend I had the most profound yet banal realization: It’s not about me.
Allow me to explain.
I was a sensitive child, and my dad was, let’s say, not a terribly sensitive parent. Unavailable, temperamental, dominating. Somehow at the time I interpreted this to be about me, to be about how I was not okay, lovable, how I needed to be different.
Today, as a coach, I know that this is only too commonplace. For some people it’s very near the surface, for others it’s something they’re not aware of at all, but for probably 98% of the population, feeling not okay is part of their makeup. It’s in the way we’re typically raised.
But the realization came from somewhere else. I’m a two-time dad myself, now, the second child being a son. And when you have a kid of your own gender, it pushes some buttons in a way that you simply haven’t had buttons pushed before, so every so often I’ll get so frustrated and angry with him, I’ll want to punch him in the nose. Hard.
I do my best to restrain myself, of course, but it just suddenly dawned on me this weekend how insane it would be for him to believe that this had anything to do with him. It doesn’t, right? He’s completely innocent. It’s just me, it’s my childhood, my experiences, my job, my life in a new house with two small kids and two startups. It’s a stressful time. It’s got nothing whatsoever to do with him.
Yet somehow, throughout my childhood, I managed to always make things be about me. That I wasn’t smart enough or fast enough or happy enough or just plain lovable enough.
It’s not about me. And it’s not about you, either. Anything anyone else happens to think of you, now and forever, will ultimately never be about you. It’ll always, I repeat, always be about their projection, it’ll be about them, how they reflect themselves and their own self-hatred or self-love over on you. But it’s not about you.
Being frustrated in the presence of my son was the clearest reminder I’ve experienced so far that whatever your parents, grand-parents, teachers, or class mates thought of you had nothing to do with you. At all. Remember that. And make sure you tell your child that.
PS! I’ve been negligent about posting here lately. It’s not that I don’t love you. I’ve been more active over on twitter, so you might want to follow me there, but mainly there’s just been too much stuff going on. More on that shortly.