I want you to think about the hardest thing you’ve ever done or faced in your life. Go ahead. Take a moment. I’ll wait.
What came to your mind?
Sometimes Life Is Hard
Did you think about an exam you once wrote? A project you once had to complete for school or work? Was it a difficult conversation you had to have with a friend, a loved one, your child? Did you think about a time you faced an illness that threatened a life?. Maybe even took one?
Was your mind filled with memories of personal tragedy? A relationship that ended? A relationship that never came to be? Did you have to fire someone? Report someone? Confront someone? Did someone fire, report or confront you?
There are so many things each of us encounter on a daily basis that challenge us. Stretch us. Take us out of comfort zone. Circumstances we want to avoid. Moments we want back. Struggles too hard to face.
Let me tell you what I thought about.
Have you ever loved someone who didn’t love you back?
It’s a funny thing, this free will we’ve got, you and I. So often we consider it from our own perspective. I can choose to do this or that. Go here or there. Befriend this person but not that person. We’re quite selfish about free will, if we’re honest with ourselves. We think about what’s good for us. Make decisions that are good for us.
Why is it, then, that we’re so blindsided when someone else does the same?
I chose to love this person. Why didn’t they choose to love me?
Then we get angry. Bitter. Resentful. Our free will allows us to chose who we want to love. But it doesn’t seem fair when their free will doesn’t force them to choose to love us back.
It’s worth noting, for the record, that not much good has ever resulted from anger, bitterness or resentment. That should go without saying, I suppose. Just to be on the safe side, I’ll say it anyway.
So what’s one to do then, when we find ourselves loving someone who doesn’t love us back?
“Stop loving!” I hear a few of you saying. Some louder than others. Some with more conviction than others.
Sure, I suppose you could do that. I might warn you though that choosing to deny love in any circumstance is never a good idea.
Eight Words To Live By
So what other options do we have?
Take a moment to reflect back on your thing. The hardest thing you’ve ever done or faced. Have you got it? Clear in your mind?
Now tell me, if you dropped any or all of those preceding eight actions into that situation, would it have changed your life?
I bet it would.
Let’s write those down and keep them in our pocket for next time. We’ll both be better for it if we do.