I’m a selfish guy. I have no problem admitting that. I think of myself more often than not, and I am a firm believer in the power of self preservation and self improvement. I want to know what YOU can contribute to ME by maintaining a relationship. What will I gain by knowing you?
See, here’s the thing; regardless of age, gender, political leanings, religious denomination, race, or language, we can ALL learn something from each other.
People, by nature, NEED other people. We mourn together (been doing that recently), celebrate together (dancing counts as celebration) , and even complain together (see “political leanings” above). The different methods we use for all of these activities is what makes human interaction and relationships so valuable.
I’m fascinated by the quiet people, the introverts, the deep thinkers. I know that their “gears” are constantly turning and I’m curious about what the end result of their thought process will add to our existence. Being quiet isn’t a crime, it definitely isn’t odd, and making a sound decision necessitates plenty of time for introspection.
I’m just as equally interested in being around the loud ones, the fun folks who keep the energy level up. I may get tired and need to withdraw after a time, but these fun people are the ones that get us out of our shells and force us to try new things we might not have otherwise.
The younger kids who haven’t been tainted by the world’s cynicism yet have something to offer as well. Remember, when we were kids, how the world was full of endless options? Before we got sucked into the daily grind, remember how much fun it was to dream of your future? What job you would have? What your wedding would look like? Which super power you wanted? The butterflies in your stomach when you saw the boy or girl you’d been crushing on? The skip in your step when you had that first kiss? Don’t sell the younger ones short. Yes, there are some that suffer from that unfortunate I-know-it-all attitude and an inflated sense of entitlement, but for all of those kids, there are just as many (if not even more) kids that have a deeper sense of self and want to, NEED to, make their mark on the world.
The abundance of experience available to us if we only ask those older than us is immeasurable. Our lives, in the overall scheme of the planet, are inconsequential but even so, learning from previous generations and their shared experiences will do nothing but educate us. It has been said that “those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it”. Truer words have seldom been written. Take the time to thank a veteran who served in a previous war, ask open ended questions to older people about how their lives have been lived thus far. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice if you think they may have performed the same task you’re struggling with.
A debt of thanks is also owed to those people who have hurt me and disagreed with me countless times, be it politically, religiously, or just on any trivial matter. Being wrong (yep, SOMETIMES it was me – Ha!) may sting initially, but in retrospect it has made the acquisition of wisdom so much more effective. Looking at a situation after all the tempers have cooled and the emotions have settled can be an incredibly objective experience. Paying attention to the opposing viewpoints, and looking deeper into them, will only strengthen your own resolve and either confirm what you already knew or allow you a new angle of looking at things.
Like I said, I want to know what YOU can contribute in MY life. Don’t worry, it’s not anything you have to work at or even attempt to improve. Interacting with me (even just a the smallest bit of small talk) has changed my life and perhaps given me a different outlook on something. You, just by being YOU, have already done all you could do.
So, yeah I’m selfish. I want to know what time spent with you will garner for ME. Know that whether we’re friends in the “real” world or only the online one, I’m always taking in what you’re putting out. You’re helping me improve myself every time you share a moment with me.
This post was inspired by the courageous fight and unbelievable reach of a friend who succumbed to cancer earlier this week. Handling her painful battle with the utmost grace and humility, never complaining but constantly lifting up God in her life and worrying about her loved ones and friends, Katrina affected a countless number of lives. Take this as food for thought; in the midst of you living your life and interacting with others, there is no way to predict how your actions will affect someone, but do all you can to leave a POSITIVE footprint in people’s lives instead of a negative one.
Rest in peace, Katrina.