“To love is to recognize yourself in another.” – Eckhart Tolle
The good and the bad
The unsavory elements of ourselves we have stuffed in the closet
Out of sight where we hope (with racing heart) no one will think to look
For what we have denied or blamed on others
The best love is an honest love
Full of responsibility for the mixed bag of who we are
Neither better nor worse than any other
Kelly Corrigan’s brutally honest book about twelve hard things to say includes great apology instructions.
Saying, “I was wrong” makes an “I’m sorry” so much more potent. “I’m sorry” gets thrown around so often that it tends to trigger cynicism.
“I was wrong” (combined with the specific error) brings relief to those who desperately need to know we get it.
It’s not easy to say. But, it is easier when we remember being wrong isn’t the same as being bad. We are learning. We are erring. We are sometimes blinded by our selfishness or our ego. We are human.
Let’s make June 2018 our best June ever…beginning with the apologies people long to hear.
We often kid ourselves into thinking that we are not guilty of taking energy from people even though it is so very common for others to steal our own.
When we lapse into negativity, nagging, self-centered behaviors, or playing the victim (by complaining about people and circumstances), we inevitably join the ranks of the “energy thieves.”
Even when we judge another’s motive, expect everyone to be energized by the same things that energize us, or fail to value someone’s feelings and opinions as much as we value our own, we have become a drain versus a fountain of refreshment.
It is easy to detect the “drain” in others. More difficult to see it in ourselves.
Sometimes other people “suck.” Sometimes it is us.
So, back to the dishes.
If we do them or do any other act of service with resentment, superiority, complaining, bitterness, distaste, or a judgmental attitude we are probably doing more harm than good. Kahlil Gibran compares this behavior to a baker putting poison in the bread that he bakes.
Even the “love chapter” in the Bible labels acts that are done without love, however impressive they may be, as noise, bad music, counterfeit money, and a waste of time.
Most humans have “antennas” up for insincerity, arrogance, anger, and condescension. Nobody is really fooled by our “service.”
Maybe we should just do everyone a favor and quit kidding ourselves.
I whined about my workload more times than I can count. Once, when I said, “I’m the only one who ever does the dishes around here,” someone responded, “So, don’t do them anymore. I’d rather have a dirty kitchen than be around a martyr.”
Although, not the answer I was going for, he had a very good point. No one enjoys the poor-little-me martyr. Setting boundaries and agreements is a much better option.
In offices and homes all over the world, people are getting bitter about other people not shouldering their fair share of the work and carrying around bitterness about it. That bitterness infects and dismantles relationships, contributes to ulcers and illness, and sucks the fun out of any environment. I’m not advocating rewarding irresponsible behaviors, only managing them productively.
Tell people what you need.
Agree on a plan.
Set contingencies for exceptions and failures.
Follow through without drama.
If you’re not hurting and not alone this season, don’t assume everyone is sharing your joy. Don’t assume it’s the hap-happiest season of all.
Invite people in you normally wouldn’t.
Ask more genuine questions.
Have honest conversations.
Value the people around you enough to ask about the ways they’re hurting.
Listen well, love well.
And regardless of your situation: lean in to relationships, to other people.
Adapted from Robert Vore (from The Mighty newsletter)
My niece, Susannah, found an archived Decatur, Illinois newspaper article about an accident my mother was in at the age of 22. The name of the driver was a man my mother would marry the following year. Another article revealed that man drowned in Vegas at the age of forty-eight. My brother was sixteen when this stranger died. He wouldn’t know the man was his father until years later.
The info triggered an uncomfortable realization; I didn’t give my mother enough credit for her difficult life.
Or, my brother for his disjointed life.
Or, so many others for the painfully broken roads they have traveled.
Maybe the realization will help me be nicer to my fellow screwed-up traveling partners.