Sunday, January 15, 2012

Old Adages

There are a lot of old sayings that I really like but I think my favorite is the one that goes something like, "To have a lot of friends, you have to be a friend". I like that one the most because it has proven so true in my life on so many occasions. It's also the saying that pops into my head when I'm feeling down because I've learned that the best way to cheer myself up is to do my best to make someone else happy. I suppose that leans more towards the saying, "The greatest joy you'll ever receive is when you are giving joy".

For me, being inwardly focused is a downward spiral that always ends up with my realizing where I'm at, who I've been, and changing my focus. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a long time for me to ride that spiral to the bottom and start climbing back up. The spiral begins to feed on itself and I move from the simple wanting something little for me to the eventual feeling that I "deserve" certain things and that people are obligated to treat me a certain way. It's funny that even writing that now makes me laugh because of the absurdity but I can live that way for weeks without realizing it and the absurdity that infects my brain.

The worst part of this spiral is the wave of discontent I cause to those closest to me. I'm fortunate enough to have wonderful people in my life that either ignore these little episodes or don't notice them. Still, I'll spend a large amount of time trying to get back into the good graces of many people once I hit the bottom of the slide. Most of these people won't even know that I am trying to climb back into their acceptance but, in my head, I'm constantly looking for ways to climb their ladder.

I suppose these cycles are normal and I can say that I've learned a lot about them and how to recognize them over the years. The most important thing I've learned, though, is how to end them quickly by implementing that old adage I started with. Be a friend. Listen instead of talk and be a friend. Suppress that ego and be a friend. Offer encouragement instead of advice and be a friend. Make a conversation completely one sided in the other person's favor and be a friend.

I'll be putting this into practice this week and I'll be you dollars to donuts (Mmmm donuts....) I'll be feeling better by Tuesday.

Thanks for listening