Probably one of the most eye-opening moments in my life came one day when I was complaining about something at the junior high school where I taught. (It probably had something to do with my schedule. I hated when I had morning planning periods.) “I don’t know why the principal is picking on me,” I whined. “She wants to ruin my life.”
My friend answered. “She’s not picking on you. She doesn’t want to ruin your life. In fact, you probably didn’t even enter her mind when she putting the schedule together.”
I was not happy to hear that, and I added my friend to the list of people who were trying to ruin my life. But her words kept coming back to me. And finally, I had to agree. Did I really think I was so important that the principal changed an entire schedule around so that I would be miserable? Was I Superman and had mortal enemies who plotted my downfall at every turn?
As the saying goes, I realized most people were not against me. They were simply for themselves. At first, it was humbling, but then I began to feel liberated. After all, spending time looking for evil-doers every time I was unhappy really took up way too much time and energy. It was nice to let some of that go.
Also, once I stopped automatically blaming others for my unhappiness, I was able to spot the few who really did wish me harm. And get far far away from them.