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5 Mindset Shifts to Help You Stop Taking Life So Seriously (Part 3)

Hello loves!

I hope everyone had a good Memorial Day Weekend! May is wrapping up and so is this series. I hope everyone's enjoyed it so far and found some use from the first 3 Mindset shifts. The next two mindset shifts are going to be a bit... different, but I hope you'll find them helpful as well!

To recap, the first three mindset shifts we covered in part 1 & part 2 of How to Stop Taking Life So Seriously were to Keep Things in Perspective, Shut Down that Fight or Flight, and Remember What You're Here For. In writing these mindset shifts, I noticed that there was a theme beginning to appear that could be the ultimate key to not taking life too seriously. But that'll be discussed next time in the final part. For now, let's go ahead and look at Mindset Shift Number Four:

You're Not Special.

Feels weird to write something that seems negative on this blog, but don't give up on me yet. I promise this isn't the insult you're probably interpreting it as.

First, we need to take things waaaaay back to little, anxiety-riddled me in high school. Shocker to none, the perfectionistic, anxious teenage girl stressed a ton about what other people thought of her. Like I would literally replay conversations immediately after they happened wondering "Omg was I being weird? Was I talking too much? Was that a pity laugh or am I actually funny? Or were they laughing at me for being a loser and not my joke??"

Yeah, you get the picture.

Through a series of unfortunate events (at least to a high schooler's mind), some friendships faded off which led to a party being thrown and some people (myself included) not being invited. Obviously, little high school me took that very personally and had an entire broadway level, dramatic cry about it.

When I was sharing my woes with my sister about how ~clearly~ this lack of invite was intentional (even though a good half of my friend group also didn't get invited) & ~clearly~ everyone must think I'm weird and cringe & ~clearly~ I'll never have friends ever again in my life, she looked me in the eye and in all her college-aged wisdom said, "They probably had a limit on how many people they could invite and chose their best friends, while you guys don't even hang out outside of school. I highly doubt they intentionally chose not to invite you out of some mean reason; they probably weren't even thinking about you when they were making the guest list. Not everything is about you, you're not that special."

Pretty blunt advice from my older sister, yet it's something that's stayed with me ever since. See, when you start to have the mindset that 'You are not special', something interesting begins to happen.

You start to experience the world with a new perspective. With this mindset, you'll slowly inch away from the most toxic form of thinking of all, Main Character Syndrome, and find your place better. You'll be able to breathe a bit easier with the knowledge that not everything is about you.

In this shift, you'll find you stop taking things as personally as before. Someone was rude to you at the grocery store check-out or cut you off in traffic? No need to take it as a personal offense to you and your bloodline. They were having a bad day or are just an inherently grumpy, rude person all the time. It doesn't matter if you could have done something differently or if someone else was in your position, odds are the person with a bad day or the rude, stuck-up prat would act the exact same, no matter what. Because it's not about you. You aren't special enough for that.

You'll find you stop freaking out about mistakes as much too. I'll use an example I'm sure we have all experienced at least once. Imagine you're walking in a very public, crowded space with a friend or family member. In the middle of this space are massive stairs that everyone can see. You start to walk up the stairs. Your shoe gets caught, you miss a step, or insert whatever invisible presence has decided to hate you enough to make you slip and face-plant on the middle of the stairs with a loud, echoing thud. You know everyone saw it. If you had hopes otherwise, your dear friend or family member with you is probably laughing loudly enough to erase any chance your slip-up went unnoticed.

So embarrassing. Now, with the mindset that you are the center of attention, odds are this has ruined a good portion of your day. A lot of people find themselves red-faced and silently freaking out that everyone saw. Sometimes they'll be snippy toward those asking if they're alright, if not downright mean to anyone who dares crack a smile. Because, duh, if you believe you are as significant as the sun, moon, and stars, then the idea of strangers seeing a silly flaw of yours is unbearable. Surely they'll remember this forever and somehow your life is over!

Except, no. It's not. Because you are not that special.

What most likely actually happened, is people saw you fall. There may have been concern until you stood up. Maybe some people quietly grinned at a friend or laughed under their breath, but even that most likely had nothing to do with you and was about them remembering a time they themselves had done the exact same thing. The strangers who saw it will go on about their day and I guarantee they will not remember this happened at all, even if they met you the very next day. Even in a worst-case scenario of some wannabe influencers filming it and posting it at your expense (ugh these people are the worst), most people are still not going to think of it. If anything, there's been a rise of people calling out those who humiliate others. And let's be real; when's the last time you watched a cringe video and thought about it for longer than five seconds?

I grew up with the idea that people are thinking more about themselves than they ever are of you. That, coupled with a 'I'm not Special' mindset, has done wonders for my own confidence and ability to live a bit more freely. When I know that most people will not remember me-- never mind my mistakes-- I feel more inclined to be myself. I can laugh off the small slip-ups in my day-to-day and find a way to move on after the bigger messes. When people are horrible or rude or entitled, I know that their behavior is a them problem and it's something they need to work on; not me.

I fully believe everyone matters and everyone is important. But no one is "special". No one is "special" enough to be responsible for others' bad attitudes. No one is "special" enough to damage their reputation beyond repair because they laughed so hard milk shot out of their nose.

You are only responsible for yourself. Like that's it. You cannot control how others feel about you, how others behave toward you, or anything like that. What you can control is how you treat others and how you live your life.

If you want to come at that with the mindset that you are the most special king or queen of the universe and deserve all the attention and respect from everyone all the time, well, I can't stop you. Just know, it's gonna be a stressful, lonely life. You will always be worrying about how others view you. You will take every slight or inconvenience as an act of war against you that cannot go unanswered. And, quite frankly, after having seen a very nasty encounter with people who think they're the main character, the only thing that makes people like this 'special' is how entitled and selfish and downright miserable they are.

No one is more important than anyone else. Yes, to us, we have the people we value and cherish and that is so wonderful. But in the grand scheme of things, in God's eyes, everyone is of equal value, is equally special. Which means we should show kindness and grace and forgiveness instead of rudeness, grudges and lashing out-- both to others and ourselves.

When you remember that not everything is about you, I hope it gives you the courage to live more fully and boldly. To not take your mistakes so seriously. To not let others steal your joy and self-worth. When you fail at something new, remember you are not special and that plenty of others have failed before you. When you disappoint someone, intentionally or not, remember that you are not special, that this interaction should not be about how to fit your narrative or make you be the hero, but instead should genuinely try to right the wrong.

And when you mess up and that little voice in your head says it's all over, ignore it. Remember how small and 'not-special' humans are in this massive galaxy on our small floating rock. Think of how the sun will still rise, the earth will still spin, and the ocean tide will still ebb and flow no matter what you've done.

In the millions upon millions of people that have ever lived, are living, and are yet to be born, here you are. A star in the star-filled universe that may not seem significant compared to all the other stars shining nearby that seem to be the same. And yet, we know that each star is unique, is beautiful in its own way, and that it was created for a reason. No matter how small the star may be, the whole universe would notice if its light disappeared.

And that's how human beings are. There are so many of us, it's crazy. In the grand scheme of things, what you do most likely will not impact the history books on a massive scale.

Yet, each person matters so much. Each person has the chance to leave positive and good marks on others, even if it's something as small as a smile. To those around us, to our loved ones, to God-- each person matters a ton.

So yes, none of us are special compared to the other. But we are all something far more important than that. We are loved, and I think that is truly the most special thing of all.

Love y'all!

"Live in harmony with each other. Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all!"--Romans 12:16

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