"...everyone's replaceable... you are not the center of the universe. If you leave, someone will replace you, the circle will close... That lesson has been helpful because it is really easy...to think that you've got to be involved in everything." ~ Kristin Muhlner, CEO of NewBrand Analytics, a provider of social media monitoring
Well, OK, then.
My head understands and my heart believes that I am not the center of the universe. But occasionally, perhaps as recently as this morning, I do not act like I understand this.
The fresh interpretation Ms. Muhlner places on this ancient altruism - "you are not the center of the universe" - is revealing. I know there have been plenty of times when I thought I had "to be involved in everything," even while I "knew" that I was not the center of the universe.
I have also found it easy to think that "things will fall apart" if/when I am no longer involved in something. Or I might break out that old saying, "If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself."
How is that NOT the epitome of self-centeredness, hubris, and vanity?
I confess. Sometimes I have had the distinct sensation - based on what I considered to be observable, measurable human behavior in my immediate vicinity - that I was truly surrounded by profoundly stupid people. [I know: for some families 'stupid' is the other 's' word]
I think most people have that sensation from time to time. It is disconcerting; even frustrating.
So, what I am figuring out, or reminding myself of more often, is that people are people. Tough one for me to have such a hard time deciphering, eh?
Everyone has a story. We are all operating from a perspective that is the result of years of experiences, which have effectively wrapped each of us in our own unique cocoon of life-filters. How we view our world today is based on everything we have done over the course of our lives; everyone we have known; every book we have read; every movie, every television program, classroom, nature hike, theme park, accomplishment, disappointment, etc etc.
This is not a new idea, of course. Philosophers have waxed eloquent on this topic for centuries.
Application in my own life is the thing.
I want to SEE my friends, family, coworkers, colleagues, peers, acquaintances, strangers, celebrities - to see them all as human, beautiful, interesting, worthy of attention - to share, to learn, to listen, to teach, to appreciate, to love.
I am NOT the center of the universe. I am surrounded by many special universes, constellations, galaxies of humanity. Fellow-sojourners whose actions and reactions spring from LIFE; from having lived through their own sequence of interactions that is making each of them a living work of art.
Time to enjoy the moving art gallery in which I live and work every day.