Things said in passing often come back to teach me. When they are spoken I just carry on with the conversation and almost forget their meaning. Somehow, small pieces of the conversation stay alive in my pinball-machine-head. The letters and words bounce around, almost falling into the world of forgotten things. But my subconscious keeps pushing the button that flips the flipper, and the words survive until I have time to understand them. Those passing words bounce around until they have taught me what I need to know. Then, they are never forgotten.
“I’m just trying to focus on what I can give instead of what I can get.”
That’s what she said (that wasn’t a dirty joke, that really is what my friend, Kelsey, said). Those were the words that bounced around. Those were the words that kept flipping the flipper to stay alive. Those were the words that took me time to understand.
Life is unfair, so it can seem like there is a lot to complain about. But anytime we complain it’s because of an expectation. We expect to be getting. Like the world constantly owes us wonderful, perfect experiences. We forget that the world never made a promise like that.
So if you feel lonely because you don’t know where to find friends. If you give someone attention that doesn’t reciprocate it. If you are surrounded by people you think should be cooler (awkward singles ward?). If you don’t have attractive people constantly falling in love with you. If you have to work on weekends. If you are sick of having too much to do and no free time. If you have nothing to do. If you don’t feel attractive. If you are frustrated because someone else seems better off than you. . . If you . . . If you . . . (enter your own personal complaints here).
Remember that none of what you expect was ever promised. We are entitled to almost nothing. This may seem sobering, but ultimately, if you let the thought bounce around long enough, it’s freeing. All you have to worry about is what you can give.
As you give, you’ll find friends. As you give you’ll find satisfaction in almost everything you do. As you give you will feel attractive. As you give, you will be happy for everyone that is better off, because making people better off will be your focus.
Give your time to those you care about. Give yourself to callings, responsibilities, and jobs. Give as much as you can give and you’ll probably lose the desire to complain. You’ll find that you will do a lot more getting once giving is your focus. (Although getting more should not be your motive for giving, it just happens naturally.)
You will crucify the idea of fairness. You will tear down insignificant expectations for what you think you deserve.You will burn envy at the stake. You will cast stones at ingratitude until it slowly dies inside you.
You’ve given everything you can. Isn’t that enough of a reward?