Center of the Universe Complex

Enlightened now, I look above

There’s His love, It’s perfect.

 After all it’s not about you

 

~ Expectations from Fearless Moral Inventory

by Juliet A. Wright, copyright 2009, all rights reserved

 

 

I am really recovering well from my center of the universe complex. I am much quicker to catch myself and get out of that mode than when I first got into recovery.

 

The world does not revolve around me, my wishes, or my dreams. People are not always thinking about me. I am also not the cause of other people’s problems.

 

Here’s an example of this defect in action and how I quickly deflected its action inside myself. I recently spoke to a contractor about doing some concrete work in my new barn. He never got back to me with a price, so I chose someone else to do the work. So then one day he just showed up at my door, ready to start doing the work. I told him I had hired someone else. Well, the other day, I saw his truck for sale at the local convenience store. Oh gosh, I thought to myself, I’ve put him out of business. Now he has to sell his truck to survive. He has gone out of business, is going to starve, and it’s all my fault.

 

Stop! First of all, I don’t know for certain why he’s selling his truck. It could be for any number of reasons. Second, he never got back to me and business is business. So neither myself nor my job could have been foremost on his mind. Clearly he is not thinking about me. I am not the center of his world.

 

I also am now aware that just because a principal might have reprimanded me in some way, she may be reacting to something else that had happened to her earlier in the day and is just taking it out on me. The negative energy I experienced probably has nothing to do with me. She was also onto the next thing in her life as soon as she interacted with me. I am not the center of the universe.

 

Here’s another example. Last week a student came into class and seemed to be very angry and frustrated that she had to be there. The old Juliet would be thinking to herself, Wow, this kid hates me, and I’m ruining her life by making her be here. I have to make her like me. I have to control her and make her do things my way.

 

Then I would have jumped headlong into my codependency patterns:

 

I’m not conscious of my own moods. I am conscious of your moods.

  • If you’re happy, I’m happy.
  • Your moods and actions are my fault.
  • If you hurt, I hurt; I think I have to fix you.
  • If you like me, I like me.
  • If you think I’m good, I think I’m good.[1]

 

Then I would have jumped headlong into a power struggle with this girl to get her to do what I wanted her to do and win her over.
I didn’t do that this time. I immediately got into the observer and just watched her behavior. What’s going on with this girl today? I wondered.

 

During the course of the class, it became clear that she was not going to follow directions or do as she was asked. The new in-recovery Juliet let it go. I went on with my class, focused on the other students, and did my job. I knew in my heart that I was not at the center of whatever was going on with this kid. It was her issue. I was doing what I was supposed to do.

 

I was a little flustered during and right after the incident with the student, at least on the inside. My heart was pounding the whole time, indicating that my inner child did not feel safe. She felt attacked. Still, I held it together, didn’t take it personally, and kept going. I didn’t get resentful at her or lay blame. That is huge progress for me. That’s recovery.

How did I do it? I plugged in my new mantras that I use when teaching:

  • Don’t take it personally. This girl is going through something today and it has nothing to do with me. She was upset when she walked in.
  • Don’t react: Observe her behavior but don’t react. Relax, breathe, wait, and watch.
  • Stick to business and just teach music: Remember, she’s not the only student in the room. Every student here deserves my equal attention. My job is to teach them music to the best of my ability. That’s why I’m here.
  • Think before you speak: I’ll take a breath and wait before I speak. Do I really want to say that?
  • This too shall pass: This situation and the anxiety it produces inside me will not last forever. I can handle it.
  • Let it go: Give the class, the students, and the situation over to God.

 

Besides, I’m not the center of the universe anyway. God is the center of my universe. He’s the one that it is all about. He’s the one to whom I need to be giving my attention. Everything that I do needs to be done to glorify him, not myself. What a great place it is to be in to not be the center of the universe. What freedom! What joy!

 

Whenever I feel like my center of the universe complex is coming back, I can plug into any of my mantras, including:

  • It’s not about you.
  • You are not the center of the universe.
  • Business is business.
  • Relax and breathe.
  • Where could I put my mind that’s not on this?
  • Treat it like the front page of the newspaper.

 

 

 

 

Working the principles to overcome a center of the universe complex:

 

I think one of the biggest things that has helped me overcome all of my defects, but especially my center of the universe complex, is working the spiritual principles and their corresponding steps.

 

Honesty: I become honest with myself and admit that I’m powerless over whatever the situation is, or even over my center of the universe complex.

Faith: I have faith that God is there, that he is all powerful, and that he cares for me.

Surrender: I give my life, my will, the situation, and my center of the universe complex over to Him.

Soul searching: I do an inventory of how I’m feeling, what I’ve done in the situation and why.

Integrity: I tell God and my sponsor how I’m feeling, what I’ve done and why.

Acceptance: I accept myself, what I’ve done, and my center of the universe complex as it is. Just accepting that I have it is such a huge relief. Suddenly the pressure is off. I just feel better about myself, my world, and my place in it. It’s okay. I’m dealing with what is. This is me.

Humility: This is the principle that helps the most with my center of the universe complex. There is a God, it is not me. I’m not in charge. It’s not my show, it’s His to run, as my song goes (from Something to Believe In). Then I humbly ask God to take away my center of the universe complex if and when He is ready. And He is doing it.

Willingness: I am willing to admit that I’ve made mistakes, hurt people, and make plans to make amends, even if those amends are a change in my behavior. That counts as an amends.

Forgiveness: Then I forgive myself and others for everything that has occurred in the situation at hand. I forgive myself for whatever actions my center of the universe complex has had on others. I forgive them for whatever it is I think they’ve done to me.

Perseverance: I keep working my program, working on myself, and do a daily inventory of my behaviors during the day. When I am wrong, I admit it. This still is not easy for me, but I do it.

Making contact (spirituality): Worship through prayer, meditation, bible study, and a constant contact with God all help me get rid of my center of the universe complex because I’ve placed God at the center of my life.
Service: Nothing like service work to remind me that it’s not all about me. It’s all about God and what he wants. It’s about reaching out to others in need and sharing my recovery. That’s me getting out of my own way, for sure.

Simplicity: I keep my life simple, with God at the center of my world. I live my life with a clarity of purpose focused on God and what he wants, not what I want.

 

The principles are vital to my recovery from my center of the universe complex. I will continue to work them and apply them to my life. Thanks be to God, I am grateful.

 

[1] Adapted from the Family of Origin packet materials provided by the Sequoia Recovery Center.

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