Today, I’ve been thinking about self-centeredness, specifically my own. If you don’t know me, I need to point out that when I talk about personality deficits, they’re usually my own. It’s not that I don’t see shortcoming in others, but since those are outside my control—and usually none of my business—I don’t bring them up in conversation.
Anyway, here’s what I was thinking. Most of the things I’d like to change about myself—impatience, pessimism, anxiety, procrastination, anger, dealing with disappointment—trace themselves back to me placing my own needs in front of others’. I’m not saying I’m a narcissist, at least no more so than the average person.
Bear with me here, though. If I get impatient about something, say a driver cutting in front of me in traffic, it’s because I feel they’ve violated my rights, that they believe I’m less important than they are. Makes sense, right? If I’m being pessimistic, forecasting doom because of something bad I think is going to happen, or better yet, trying to create a dramatic narrative, isn’t at least part of that because I’m trying to enhance my own story, even if it’s only in my own mind? Someone sends me a snippy email, and it gets my hackles up. Why? Maybe deep down I feel that person is asserting their own importance over mine. It shouldn’t matter, but it does.
Here’s an idea: During my day, I’m going to try to anticipate situations where I usually feel impatient, anxious, or angry and predict why I’ll feel that way.