This statement most likely won’t come as a shocker. I’m probably going to say something you’ve known, but never felt the need to say out loud.
I’m pretty much a self-centered being.
There. I said it for you. You can breathe easy now.
I have a hard time not seeing how things apply to me, seeing the broader picture without any regards to what role I may play in it. I’ve been that way forever and a day, I’m ever so sorry to say.
Probably because I’m the baby and, well, the world really does revolve around me.
I hope to change for the better, but a good friend just said to me this past week, “Once you reach 40, you really don’t change.”
Well, that bites for me… I’m 2 years past that expiration date and gaining more. That means I’m pretty much hopeless and beyond repair.
It kind of sounds like the movie quote from Sleepless in Seattle.
Co-Worker: It’s easier to be killed by a terrorist than it is to find a husband over the age of 40!
Annie: That statistic is not true!
Becky: That’s right it’s not true, but it feels true.
Not really applicable to my point, but it still makes me laugh out loud. I need to see that movie again.
Anyway(s), my friend my be right. I may not be able to make drastic personality changes easily this late in life. I
may be am self-centered, but I have at least one redeeming quality that I think may help me counteract this huge character flaw.
I am a giver. I give because it’s one way for me to show affection. It’s also a way for me to remember that it’s not all about me, that there are others in this world who need as much (if not more) love as I do, that I do have something to offer to the world.
I like giving in all sorts of ways. And to be honest, though I will do it in a heartbeat for those that I love, I’ll give to strangers too.
Time – If someone needs something done, I’ll do it, even if my time is at a premium or if it’s a task I really don’t enjoy. A friend needs me? I’ll drop stuff to talk or sit in silence if that’s what they need. A person looks lonely? I’ll look them in the eye and ask about them. A neighborhood child wants to sit with me on the swing and talk about their day (when I’m reading my book), the book is gone and the child has my attention. You need a bounce board to talk things through just to get a grasp on things? I’m your girl. You need me to make a call on your behalf, I’m all over it… after I talk myself into it. You want to just shoot the breeze to know that someone is there for you? I’m all ears.
Possessions – One lesson I heard early in life really stuck with me. If you give something to someone, consider it gone. You will not harbor feelings of resentment if it’s not returned and you’ll feel really good about the relationship over all. When it is returned, it’s a nice little surprise that makes you smile. I have a pretty easy time giving “my” things to others. Plus, I feel really good about being able to help someone if they needed it. (Don’t ask for my coffee maker, though. I’ll tell you no. Sigh. But then I’ll feel guilty for being selfish and try to figure out how to get you one. I’m a mess. Just don’t ask for my coffee maker and all will be well… for me, at least.)
Respect – This offering should be easy for most people, but it’s not. I cannot tell you how many times I see people treat others with such disrespect and feel awful for the rudeness displayed. Why do most people think they are better than everyone else?! It’s so simple to treat others with a bit of respect. I say thank you to the person who opened the door for me, even if he’s done it every day. I thank the waiter who served at my table and hope they feel appreciated for the service rendered. I even thank others when they take the time/energy to thank me! (Silly, but thanks are so scarcely rendered, I feel that I should thank the thanker to acknowledge that I heard with a responsive heart and I liked it.) I’ve learned the names of my bus drivers and cafeteria/store employees and talk with them when I’m in their care. I smile at others when walking down the hall, looking them in the eyes to let them know that they have been noticed. I’m not saying I’m a pro at it yet, but I believe I have a small portion of it under my belt.
Talents – If you need help and it’s something I can do, I’m on it! Heck, I’ve been known to be on it even if I hadn’t a shred of talent for it. But that’s how you learn, right? It’s all about helping however you can to relieve someone else’s burden. You need a meal? I’ll make it for you. You need a meeting set or a liaison for a tech/work request? Just say the word. You ask for ideas on how to tackle a situation? I’ll try my darndest. Raising money for charity? Here, sell these treats to make some money. You need a pair of hands to move things, I’ve got two and a willing heart if it will help you.
Friendship – This offering is the easiest to give, but also one of the most costly. Friendship offered is such a vulnerable gift and often it is left trampled on the side. When you find others who will cherish it and treat it with respect, what a reciprocal offering it is! Despite being trampled on again and again, I still offer it to others. May my heart never harden to where I say, “What’s the point?”
Gifts – I love giving gifts! I know it’s not everyone’s love language, that gifts don’t really speak to them, but it’s one of mine for showing my emotions and heart. The gifts don’t have to be big or expensive either. Completing an undesirable task for someone else is a small way to show you love someone. The gift of a pick-me-up when you know someone needs it is a small way to show I care. A surprise batch of cupcakes for coworkers tells them I’m so grateful to work with wonderful people. A card that says just the right thing (or better yet – a handwritten note) can touch the spirit and lift it up. A handmade Christmas ornament says I’m glad I know you and here’s a part of me. A cookie from a cookie run shouts you matter to me, enough for me to share my chocolate. Well-sought out birthday gifts means I love you so much I dedicated time, thought, heart and effort into finding something that I hope will please you. Creating a meal that you know is a favorite reminds the eater that she is loved.
Hope – Sometimes, all a person needs is a little bit of hope, a little bit of encouragement. A listening ear, a word of advice if wanted (and an apology if it isn’t), a personal experience to relate when someone is struggling/suffering with something you’ve already endured, a smile and a bit of humor to encourage – these things cost nothing, but they are so valuable to the receiver. Just getting someone to laugh with a well placed line is offering a bit of inspiration to help someone see if there can be lightness and laughs during their troubles, there will be again afterwards too. Sometimes people ask why I’m so cheerful, so positive, so Pollyanna-ish; it’s because I have hope. And hope is something that can always be shared. It replenishes as it goes.
My heart – Now this gift is the hardest for me to give. It’s so much more than offering friendship. I’m friendly. I’m fun. I’m open in a really good way. But that’s not all of me, not my full heart. That’s just the first protective layering around it. It that takes time, effort and lots of little moments of trust for me to build up enough courage to reveal the real me to someone. It’s an extremely small number for those to whom I have shared my inner most self, with those who I thought could accept me still. If I finally feel secure enough to share my heart, if I open up to let you in to see all of me – the good parts, the bad parts, the real parts that wallow in uncertainty or jitter with excitement, the parts that are chocked full of odd thoughts, real ponderings, or hidden dreams, then you have been given the most precious gift I can give. What you do with that offering determines if the friendship flourishes with reciprocation or how long it will be before I offer it to someone again when rejected. And once rejected, because I’ve given and given and given of myself to be accepted in the first place, it’s extremely difficult for me to let someone in again. I have a hard time letting go not being good enough the first time around to want to start again.
Overall, there’s such a underlying joy in being a giver, in being someone who is known as having a kindness about her, to people of all walks of life, no matter the age, sex, race or social ranking of the recipient. It fills me with a sense of worth, that I can make a difference in my small little world.
You want to know the thing that stinks about being a giver?
It’s usually not responded in kind.
And that makes a giver, well, me anyway(s), feel as if she is being taken for granted, not noticed, unappreciated, someone who will always be around to take care of them no matter how I’m treated.
But that gets old after a while.
Every now and then, I’d like to be the recipient of the unexpected giving, let someone else take the lead.
- I would appreciate it if someone would see behind the smile, notice when I need to talk and offer an attentive, listening ear.
- I would treasure the opening of a heart – wide open and showing the ins and outs of fears and dreams.
- I’d like to have a treat waiting just because someone knew I liked it.
Sigh. I’m sure those desires go along with my being self-centered in the first place. It doesn’t have to be about me, right?
It’s a circle that I have yet to find a way to break.
We all know I am a piping hot mess.
Good thing God has nerves of steel and patience out the wazoo. He’s going to need it. I
If after over 40 years I’m still struggling with it, He’s going to be settled in for a long haul.
Hopefully it’s easier to make that change than to be killed by a terrorist.
It’s all about finding a silver lining.