Look deeply and you are likely to find that almost all of us are self-important. The default is for me to think first and foremost of myself. To expect events-people-situations to turn out such that they meet my expectations/needs. To make myself more important than others. Even to show up and travel as if I am the only one that is important.
At one level self-importance is necessary and vital. Without adequate self-importance we create the space/opportunities for being overlooked, not having our interests/needs adequately considered/met, and even being treated as doormats.
However, it occurs to me that for most of us our self-importance is excessive. Our self-importance is such that it is a formidable obstacle to playing BIG in life. How so? Is it not our self-importance that prevents us from stepping out of that which we are comfortable with? Is it not our self-importance that fears the ridicule that comes with failing? Is it not our self-importance the hinders us from taking on challenges that disrupt our comfort – physical, emotional, social?
I invite you to listen to the following:
‘You take yourself too seriously,’ he said slowly. ‘You are too damn important in your own mind. That must be changed! You are so goddam important that you feel justified to be annoyed with everything. You’re so goddamn important that you can afford to leave if things don’t go your way. I suppose you think that shows you have character. That’s nonsense! You’re weak, and conceited.’
………. ‘As long as you feel that you are the most important thing in the world you cannot really appreciate the world around you. You are like a horse with blinkers, all you see is yourself part from everything else.’
– Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan – The Lessons of Don Juan
Yesterday, I made a difference in the lives of a couple of human beings who were struggling. This only came about because I had loosened the grip that self-importance has on me – at least over the last couple of days. This loosening allowed me to see-hear the suffering of my fellow human being. More: to be touched-moved by that suffering. And so offer my help in a manner that made it clear that the offer was a genuine offer. This genuine desire to help made it possible for the other person, a proud person, to accept my offer.
The result? An ordinary Saturday turned into an extra-ordinary one. The father, the person who accepted my offer, gave me a hug and was almost in tears. And I found myself engaged in a enlivening conversation with his daughter, a remarkably wise 21 year old. It is even possible that we planted the seeds of friendship. All because I put away my self-importance and made myself, and my MPV, available for a day to help these folks move home.
I thank you for your listening and invite you/me to loosen the grip of self-importance so that you/i can play BIG in this one life.