Naturally, we approach life from our point of view, and it’s easy to assume from this perspective that life is about us. We’re the lead actor in our story and everyone else is simply playing supporting roles. But these assumptions often lead to many misinterpretations and avoidable frustrations.
On the one hand, we tend to be immediately aware of how things impact us. A passing comment that stings, feeling undervalued at work, or taken for granted in relationships all seems very personal. And while these all have a personal cost, it’s a mistake to assume others are just out to get us. Often they have things going on in their story that have nothing to do with us directly.
It’s also the case that we tend to be very selfish – wanting what we want without much, if any, regard for others. For instance, this might be wanting the latest gadgets and tech without considering its impact on the family budget, signing up for a project or event without thinking about how it would affect our wife, or simply demanding our creature comforts socially without taking into account the ripple effect of our various positions. It’s not that what we want is wrong per se, but we’ve assumed our desires are just about us and we’ve not stopped to consider others. We might even go as far as blaming them for holding out and making our life harder.
To be sure, what we want matters and we don’t have to discount the pain when we’re hurt by the decisions others make. But we’re prone to misunderstand the hearts of others and quickly grow bitter and resentful when life doesn’t happen on our terms.
In the end, your heart and desires matter, but life is not just about you. Others have their own story without you at the center. And your personal choices still come with a relational cost for others as well.