The Biggest Hurdle in Life: Getting Over Yourself

The Biggest Hurdle in Life: Getting Over Yourself

By Caroline Schumsky, LCSW, MS

See that big yellow thing in the sky? The world revolves around that – not you. Uh, oh. Everyone’s suddenly jumping on the crazy train. They’re driving you stark raving nuts. But is it really them, or what you are thinking about them? Ahhh. They all seem to be canceling their subscriptions because it seems you have more issues than a magazine stand. But, hmmm, what do all your thoughts and preoccupations have in common? You. And let’s be honest. None are as empty as those who are full of themselves.

Heck, I don’t even need other people to stir me up into a frenzy. I can do that all by my lonesome. Okay, deep down inside I know that I am not really that specially chosen a protagonist in life’s cosmic movie, but I can’t help taking lots of things to heart.

You know what they say: When you lose one sense, your other senses are enhanced. That’s why people with no sense of humor have an increased sense of self-importance.

Truth be told, most of us drastically overestimate how much other people are actually thinking about us altogether. People have way too many challenges of their own to be obsessed with what you are wearing, thinking, or doing for that matter. So the answer to that gnawing question: “Oh, gosh, but what will they think?” is probably: Nothing.

Sure, there are those who major in harshly judging others; but why would you choose to take that personally anyway? Thinking of others and being considerate is hardly the same as fretting or making decisions based on how others may perceive you.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be part on an ensemble for once, instead of always feeling as though we were the star of the show? Then, perhaps, you can eat what you really want, wear that quirky outfit and no one will even notice – since you are three rows back in the dance number now.

Oh, you still want top billing? Fine, how about trying to be the supporting actor this time? Close enough for ya? Indeed, your life is all about you; but guess what? That does not mean the world revolves around you. No one at the party is staring at that coffee stain you managed to get on your shirt five minutes after you got there. Relax. So, you made a mistake in your presentation at the office meeting last week. How many of your co-workers do you reckon still remember that? Things happen. We all make mistakes; some are really awful ones. Good and kind people understand that.

But honestly, the one thing others cannot do is live your life for you. Next time you’re tempted to go full tilt into frustration or even rage over what you think someone thought about you, ask yourself: How significant is this in the grand scheme of events? Do you really want to spend the rest of your life allowing others to dictate how you feel at any given moment? We may need to learn how to live outside of ourselves just a tad. It was once said: “When they discover the center of the Universe, a lot of people will be disappointed that they are not it.”

Do you know the difference between confidence and arrogance? Well, do you smile or smirk? And you’re so aware that you’re rare? I wonder how many hidden, ego-fueled actions you took just this week, hmmm. Here’s a handy-dandy hint: If you hear yourself saying, “Me, I can do no wrong” and if you believe it, your overinflated ego just did some serious laps. On the other hand, if you tell yourself, “I can do this,” you may have just found the right dose of confidence.

Sure, you can spend your days trying to micro-manage everything that happens. You can even tell anyone who will listen what they should be doing to control their lives; but guess what? Life is just gonna happen anyway. Your life is your responsibility; so if things over which you do have some modicum of control are not going your way, my question is: What are you doing about it?

Oh, you’re playing the victim, blaming everyone else, and letting the vampires suck the life out of you? No, sorry, sweet friends – that doesn’t count. That does not exactly tap into your superpowers of confidence, self-reliance, and resilience. You got stuck on a past, painful event? No need to drop your anchor there. Everything has an expiration date. You can get past it. Yes, you can. Much as we all fantasize about being saved from it all, truth is: Sometimes you just have to be your own hero. But don’t forget to first check your ego, amigo. We are truly all in this together.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at or at