Whenever another person does something for me, it fills my spirit with thanks and total appreciation for them in my life. The problem for me and I am sure for most people is to maintain that appreciation past the thankful moment. When we are sick we call on a friend or family member and they come running to help us. When we are feeling better we don’t think as much about them. I know we will help them in return if they need us but the focus of their kind acts shifts to the background of our lives.
When our car breaks down, our pets need to be looked after while we are on vacation, we need a babysitter, cheering up, help in a desperate time of need, someone comes to our aid. Fast forward to a future time and place. The person who has helped us out numerous times suddenly says or does something we don’t like. Now we forget immediately, all the times they were there for us. We get angry and hurt and we lash out and dismiss them with nothing more than a blink of the eye.
If this is something you have done or experienced, you are in the majority group. You go home and try to understand what just happened to you. Maybe they don’t recall your generous time effort and money but you certainly do and you can’t believe how fast they turned on you. I have been at the receiving end of such situations and pondered the numerous things I had done for this person and I found it hard to believe they didn’t count my many offerings of love and generosity of time and money.
Recently I was on the other side of the situation. A good friend infuriated me and I lashed out without thinking. It didn’t escalate but I went home upset and then refused to answer her phone calls or e-mails. For days I reviewed what she had done to me and my fire was fueled. I eventually answered her calls and we talked about things unrelated to our problem. Our relationship was somewhat back on track but I had the feeling it could never be the same.
Then I needed help and the first person I thought of was my friend. I felt uneasy about it but I asked and she answered immediately. After the incident I sat reflecting on what had just transpired. My friend was my friend regardless of our recent strained issues. She came through just as she had always come through for me. I then recalled how many times I came through for those who had tossed me aside. I asked myself why we get up and go back for more.
It occurred to me that the reason was love. When you love someone you put aside petty disagreements and take care of their needs. The arguments wait for another day. Enlightenment happened at that precise moment. I began contemplating all the wonderful times my friend and I had shared. I recalled the multiple times she was at my side when I needed her to be. I began to feel guilty about the problems between us and felt like I had created a mountain out of a mole hill.
You see, all the caring acts of kindness create the huge mountain of love. The few acts of meanness create the small mole hill which we can either jump over or climb easily to the other side. I was so focused on the few hurtful incidences and I reviewed them constantly in my mind. I understood how little I had thought about the kind acts of service which she had performed on a regular basis. As soon as the favor was completed, it was out of my mind.
I resolved that day to remember the wonderful things people do for me. I refuse to allow them to go unnoticed. I don’t want to forget the glowing feeling I experienced when these favors were done for me. So when the day comes, as it always does in any relationship, that my friend or relative annoys me or worse, I will be armed to fight the negative thoughts with the remembrance of the good she or he has shown for me.
Now, I am actually applying it to all areas of my life and have a more positive approach to people in general. Sometimes we don’t want others to forget all the things they did wrong at our expense. In retrospect, we forget to remember and sustain the memories of all the things they did and said that were inspiring and helpful for us. This is similar to the way we teach our child that we dislike what they did but we still love them. If we can sustain and appreciate love, beyond the moment, we will keep our friends and family close. For Everyone’s information, my friend and I are completely on track without any scratches or scars.
“You can give without loving but you can never love without giving.” Robert Louis Stevenson
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” Mark Twain