Swing and A Miss: Chapter 11
It's not all about you
It’s not all about you
We are always the main character in our own stories. And it’s far too easy to act as if the world revolves around us, and only us. Don’t they see my pain? Do they care I am struggling? Is everyone on my side? Why is this happening to me? And on we go with our inner dialogue, and unfortunately, at times, external dialogue. But lean in for a moment. I have something important to tell you. It’s not all about you. I know, I know, it’s a hard pill to swallow. But you need to know, and so do I, the world does not revolve around us, and we are not the only ones who matter.
When we are faced with disappointment, we often become self-absorbed. Let’s be okay with that fact, I do it, you do it, we all do. In my recent situation, I found myself talking about everything going on far too much. I became annoyed with my constant rehashing of what happened. Surely my friends, and family, became weary of it too, right? Here’s another fun fact. We are all dealing with something, be it good or bad. At any given moment, we are not the only ones who are looking disappointment square in the eyes.
Maybe, just maybe, the next best step is to focus on others for a change. When we become consumed with our own circumstances, focusing on others can prevent us from sounding like a broken record, wallowing, and falling into greater despair.
Yes, we need to vent to safe people, but can we agree to not consume every bit of the conversation? After we have shared all there is to share, what would happen if we asked questions about the other person? You know, take the spotlight off of ourselves for a moment.
Here is another fun fact for us, we are not the first to face disappointment, nor will we be the last. What if we allowed others to share their stories, and how they navigated their way through it? I have found one of the easiest (and least painful) ways to learn anything, is to learn from someone else. I fully support learning from the failures and successes of someone else.
Psychology Today conducted research on the benefits of helping others. Participants were allowed to share their personal stories of stressful events and could offer support for one another. Their research found the following:
“The results showed that helping others to regulate their emotions predicted better emotional and cognitive outcomes for those participants who were giving the help. Moreover, because heightened levels of self-focused attention are common in depression, the more people helped others, the more their helping behavior predicted a reduction in their own depression, thanks to the use of reappraisal in their own daily lives. Follow-up analyses further showed that this increase in reappraisal in people’s lives also affected their mood and subjective happiness. Interestingly, messages that used other-focused language were considered more helpful and garnered more gratitude from participants. In fact, using other-focused language not only helped the people in need, but also those who were helping. This finding suggests that when providing emotional support to others, trying to fully take on their perspective can increase reappraisal and lead to better psychological outcomes for those who are providing the support.”
St. Francis of Assisi’s seem to ring true: For it is in the giving that we receive.
Did you know there are also health benefits to kindness and helping others? Let’s look at ways kindness improves our wellbeing.
1. Helping others feels good. Studies have shown kindness is linked to increased feelings of wellbeing.
2. Kindness creates a sense of belonging and reduces isolation. Helping others can create, maintain, and strengthen social connections.
3. Kindness helps keep things in perspective. And we need the right perspective when making our way through disappointment.
4. Kindness can make the world a better place – one act often leads to another. An act of kindness can boost feelings of confidence, being in control, happiness, and optimism.
5. The more you do for others, the more you do for yourself. Helping others feels good, and that is a feeling that has a positive effect on our own self esteem.
With this knowledge, I think we would do well to help others, especially when we are in a disappointment induced funk. I know I have found myself feeling better, and in a better frame of mind after helping someone else. Helping others empowers me to reframe my own situation, resulting in a decrease in feeling overwhelmed. There are times, my friend, we just need to take the focus off of ourselves in order to take a nice, deep breath, and relax.
Having problems shaking off your disappointment? Look around, who can use some help? Who needs a smile or a kind word? Try it out, help someone, be kind, but the research to the test and see how improves your own mood.