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by Zebib Ghile

I woke up in the morning to feel my inner chaos. Once again, I was overwhelmed by a blend of desperation and powerlessness. I couldn’t see an easy way out of this mess, a state of being I was well acquainted with.

This time, it was triggered by an accident: My car was hit by a waste collection truck. Although the damage was covered by insurance, it was too much to handle for me. I couldn’t help but panic. I had to spend the little money I had to fix my broken car hoping that the insurance company wouldn’t take ages to reimburse the amount. I had to fill in all those forms, and find a solution for commuting to work while the car was in the repair shop. All this struggle just to do a job I hardly could pay my bills with. I was paralyzed and close to a total breakdown. I couldn’t think clearly and I simply couldn’t stop crying.

So, I called my friend, the insurance broker, to get more information on how long the process would take. I was longing for comfort, just someone to turn to, someone that would tell me, I’d be okay. When I told him how desperate I was, he wouldn’t want to listen to me and shut me off rather quickly. I started crying again and ended the phone call calmly but with great disappointment.

I couldn’t understand his reaction. I knew, he was busy, but why would he show no compassion at all? How could he push me away, when I needed him the most? My whole world fell apart. I was so disappointed: I always tried to be compassionate – and just wouldn’t get much back in return.

I kept on pondering why he had acted as he did, and assumed that he must have felt offended and not trusted. Those thoughts made me even feel worse because I had caused a misunderstanding. Should I call him and apologize? Should I explain what was going on inside me?

When I was about to grab the phone, an inner voice held me back: Was there any need to call him? After all, it was me feeling bad, not him. Why did I care about the perception he had of me? Was I responsible for fixing misperceptions? Why was it so important to me what he was thinking about me? Why did I suffer from prejudices he might have against me? There was a turmoil in my head with all those questions.

And all of a sudden, I had the answer:

I had been running around fixing perceptions people had about me and others. I was convinced that it was my task to establish or re-establish fair perceptions. I spent a lot of energy to do so. What for?

In that very moment, I decided to focus on me! To spend all this energy on myself, not on others’ perception of myself.

Becoming aware of this pattern changed my entire life.

Now it’s clear: Whenever I’m tempted to fix expectations and perceptions in the outside, I take a look to my inside first.

Zebib Ghile
About Zebib Ghile
Zebib loves systemic thinking. With her strong sense of curiosity, her capacity to connect the dots and change perspectives, she makes the invisible visible - for herself and others. She helps self-explorers to gain clarity in times of confusion, and inspires them to move forward towards more balance and alignment.

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The day I learned to focus on ME