Don’t Take That Personally: A Secular Sermon on One Failure of the Ego

I. The Problem with Taking Things Personally: It’s all about you

The issue with having a person(ality) (e.g., being alive, existing as a person, having an ego, actively participating in metacognition) is that we–you, I, everyone, people–take things “personally.” Everything that happens to you, to your family members, your friends, is somehow related to you; everything affects you. We truly tend to take comments, omissions, texts, tones, inconveniences, others’ actions, etc out of context; i.e., we take things personally.

The weather, the schedule of society, traffic lights, long lines, bad service–all aspects of our reality that exist outside of our personal consciousness and completely outside of our control–these phenomena have no thought for me, have no thought for you; why do we then spend such thoughts on them? What stresses do we gladly volunteer for; what anxieties do we choose to fester under; what negativities do we adopt when pretending to play god and feign control over the weather, the traffic patterns, or another person’s motivations?

II. The Solution to Combatting the Negative Effects of Taking Things Personally: It’s not you

What if one of those master keys that can open wide the door to life is simply found by not taking things personally? What if we didn’t assume that all the big “bad things that happen” to us are because of us, or are a result of our actions? What if we realized that no one person is really out to get another person, but rather, is just out to achieve the best for his or her own self? What if we truly meditated upon the fact that the universe at large, as a multifaceted and indifferent entity, is not really concerned with one sniveling, fragile parasite on a planet of of over 5 billion other such similar parasites (plus trillions of other types of parasites, as well).
This solution–to not take things personally (or to simply recall to mind now and then that one is naught but a meaningless parasite)–may at first sound nihilist and empty; melancholy and oppressive; cold and scientific. But in reality, it is a welcome relief.

Seek comfort and take heart in not having to take things personally, in not having to internalize the outer workings of the universe at large. Though you do possess sway and intention, you alone are not responsible for the outcomes of the combined, often chaotic, actions of every creature in the entire world! If it rains on your birthday, did any one make that happen? No! So who gives a shit? If you catch a cold on your vacation, so what? Can you pray it away? If you’re not as tall as you’d hoped, can you will inches to your stature? If you drop your wedding ring down a sewer grate, yeah sure I’ll grant you that sucks, but think about what the ring represents and the love that still exists (and about the insurance check you’ll collect)!

Seek comfort and take heart! It was not because of you that your mother left, or your father committed suicide, or your favorite pet was run over by a tractor. It was not to ruin your day that a teenager bumped your fender or your pants split on the way to work, or an unidentified youth stole your bag. It was not because {god, the universe, X person you know, everyone} hates you that you tripped down the stairs when people were watching or a bird crapped in your hair.

Seek comfort and take heart! One event in one person’s life is just one aspect of the universe playing itself out–and not considering your feelings at all in the process because the universe just can’t do that.

III. A Call to Action: Shake up your comfortable perspective

Seek comfort and take heart because it’s not about you; rather it’s about seeing everything from a new perspective, knowing that everyone does what’s best for one’s self, not what’s worst for you.

It’s not about your thoughts and wishes and dreams–it’s about letting go of perceptions and internalizations, complexes and quirks, guilt and negativity and contributing to the big picture that already exists.

It’s not about your ego–it’s about how you build relationships with others.

It’s not about your individual rights and privileges–it’s about extending humanity, decency, and equality everywhere you go.

It’s not about your purpose–it’s about finding meaning outside of your perceived inclinations and directions.

It’s not about your bubble–it’s about plugging into the open, thriving universe.

It’s not about you–you are free from you. You are free from your past, from your hangups, from your grudges, and from yourself because it’s not about you.

But don’t take that personally.

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One comment

  1. ashishr151 · September 5, 2014

    This is a really well written post. Looking forward to reading all your future posts 🙂

    I just started my blog 2 days ago. I would really appreciate if you could spare some time , visit my blog and provide me with your valuable feedback 🙂

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