It’s All Coming Together

5 09 2008

 So lately I have been annoyed by the fact that I don’t really think that a lot of people are able to think outside of themselves. It has been popping up all around me. Chili and I talked about it over lunch today. I shared with her my frustrations when people can’t seem to extend some minor, at least in my mind, considerations to other people. Would it kill you to look behind you to see if there is anyone there before you let the door slam? Do you really think that when you are in bumper to bumper traffic, stopping to let the people who are trying to turn left is going to take up to much time in your commute? Do you think that maybe, if you are going out to get a coffee anyway, you might ask me if I would like one.

 I asked Chili today “When do you draw a line? If I always do nice things for a person and they very rarely offer to return the favor, when is time to stop extending myself?”

“When doing it doesn’t feel good anymore.”

 I have been thinking about this all afternoon. Her answer was a good one I think but for me, it wasn’t enough. Something just didn’t feel right for me and when something doesn’t feel right, I start digging. I turned it around and around and got no where.

 Finally, I let it go. I was sitting outside with a book on my lap. I shut my eyes and tried to quiet my mind. This is what I came up with;

 It’s not them. It’s me.

 I always talk about doing just for the sake of doing. I love doing things just for the sake of doing. I can find equal amounts of pleasure in purchasing someone a book I think they might like (I use this example because I bought three books for two different people yesterday that I thought they would enjoy. And they were wicked cheap! Bonus!) as I can in cleaning the house. For me, the joy is in the act of doing. Usually there are other benefits as well. People typically feel good when you do something spontaneous for them. People like to know that they are thought about. That in turn makes the person who did the nice thing feel good because they made someone else feel good. Win-win. 

 So, again, where I am getting stuck is when I feel like people don’t take my feelings into consideration. Now, the woman who lets the door slam in my face doesn’t really bother me that much. I don’t know her, she doesn’t know me. In situations like that I am more likely to try and explain away her behavior. Maybe she had a bad day at work. Maybe her kid is sick and she is worried about him. Or maybe her head is stuck up her ass. Who knows? The point is is that it bothers me more when it comes from my own people.

 So, while enjoying the calm and pleasantly warm breeze on my porch with my book on my lap I realized that what I think is happening is that when I do things for the people that are in my immediate circle and they rarely seem to think of me, I am maybe not doing for the sake of doing! It would appear that I have an expectation that they will in turn do nice things back.

 You see? It really is all about me.

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7 responses

5 09 2008
drtombibey

One spring a man was drinking a few beers as he worked on a boat dock. He decided to go for a swim. He was spotted by a boater who knew the water was too cold, and drove over towards the swimmer. The man began to drown.

The man in the boat offered him a paddle.

“Jump in you sorry SOB,” the man shouted. “Save me!” He was drunk, and a large man.

The man in the boat sized up the situation. He was elderly and not a good swimmer. He was sure the man would drown him. He looked the man in the water right in the eye. “You hold onto this paddle or you’re gonna drown, you drunk little SOB. I ain’t jumping in there to help you.”

The man in the water cursed him for all he was worth, but held onto the paddle and made it to shallow water. He stood up, threw up several times, and shook his fist in the air as the boat sped away, still cursing the driver at the top of his lungs.

My point: We should try to save people who don’t have the good sense to save themselves, but we are not obligated to let them drown us.

Dr. B

5 09 2008
Mrs. Chili

I like Dr. B’s story.

My comment was slightly less than I intended it to be, but I think you’ve worked your way toward what I was thinking. My point was that doing things should feel good TO YOU. When it’s not making you happy to do things, you shouldn’t do them any more. Whether they stop feeling good because you were expecting something in return (which, truth be told, I don’t think is unreasonable in most of the situations we discussed) or because you’re “letting someone else drown you” doesn’t matter a bit. It IS all about you, and I’m so proud of the work you’re doing around this…

5 09 2008
Kizz

I’m struggling with this lately myself. Nice to hear it all laid out like this. The bottom line is sometimes hard to remember.

5 09 2008
Julia

I have the same issues – I was raised to be very considerate and thoughtful toward others but it’s difficult to feel like you’re in the minority and the same consideration is not always sent back in your direction. But then I chastise myself for apparently doing things with strings attached. There’s a choice to make: I either need to stop doing those things or I need to figure out how to sincerely do things and then completely let it go and honestly expect absolutely nothing in return. I’m not happy with either option.

6 09 2008
Auntie

Great story Doc! Thank you. I am always in awe of the way the universe gives exactly what is needed at exactly the right time.

Julia, the second option of not expecting anything in return is the one I am working towards. Sometimes I think that I don’t allow people to do stuff back. That’s something I have been working on too; finding the balance between my fiercely independent streak and actually letting people do things for me. Sometimes I think I come off as someone who doesn’t need anything from others. Almost like people get a vibe from me that they don’t ever have to offer because I have it all figured out anyway. Does that make sense?

6 09 2008
Julia

Yes, that makes sense and I’ve gotten feedback from people that I give off that kind of vibe, too. It’s a hard balance, especially if you’ve been on your own for a long time. I think it’s the same energy that makes some people feel intimidated by us. The thing that has helped me the most is taking a little time to get my intention and expectations in order before I do something. That gives me the time to decide if it will be something I can just let go of and do it just for the happiness in the doing rather than what I might get in return. That’s what happens on a good day, anyway. I still fall off the wagon a lot. Sigh. It’s a journey …

6 09 2008
twoblueday

I don’t expect anything in return if I do a good deed, a mitzvah. Maybe it is okay, however, to think of builiding up a good karma account?

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