I witness it happening on social media. It happens in every day conversations. I’ve done it myself and have stopped doing it – at the very least I have become tremendously conscious of it.
People like to share stories. Happy stories, tearful stories, proud stories, stories about where they’ve been or about their accomplishments.. What a wonderful way to connect!
Following their tragic/joyful/knowledgeable story the listener/reader replies, ‘oh, yes, well when that happened to me…..’ or ‘I’ve been there too and we did/saw/met…’ or ‘well when WE did that…. blah, blah, blah, BLAH…’
Is this YOU? Well, I have something to tell you – it’s not about you. So zip your lip.
Were you even listening to your friend? Did you even acknowledge on social media that it wasn’t YOU who shared the story… it was your friend? Don’t steal their thunder. Damn. If their kid got honours last year in grade 23 it isn’t your place to share that your kid did that too the year before. If your friend is making plans to travel to Jupiter – no one cares that you already went there. YOU didn’t share this info. THEY did. Let it be about them!
There is a remarkably enlightening book I learned about and studied in my yoga teacher training ‘The Yamas and Niyamas’ by Deborah Adele. In it one of the guidelines is ‘asteya’ – nonstealing.
In there it states, ‘Our attention on others from a place of discontent within ourselves can lead us to live vicariously through others or to try to control, manipulate or manage them in order to boost our own sagging ego. We may find ourselves trying to ‘trump’ or ‘one up’ their stories and successes and experiences by coming behind them with our own more fabulous tale. It is all an attempt to make ourselves feel better about ourselves.’
‘In all the instances that we steal, we have made the situation about us, not about the other.’
IS this you?
I invite you to be aware of your thought patterns the next time you feel the need to jump in, share YOUR story and steal the attention from someone else. Could you not simply offer a ‘way to go!’ or ‘I’m sorry to hear’ …? Can you leave the focus where it is? On THEM?
It isn’t about you.. but when the time is right and the light has faded from the other.. then by all means… it’s your turn.. and it IS about you. 😉