A number of us were talking about how it is when people only think of themselves. The examples given were derivations of a basic truth: everything hidden eventually comes to light.
“The way I see it, he said
You just can’t win it
Everybody’s in it for their own gain”
– Free Man in Paris by Joni Mitchell
Now, don’t get me wrong, we’ve all fallen short of the angels; it’s just that some people never progress beyond thinking only of their own needs. Have you ever had someone, who you haven’t talk to since the last time they wanted a favour, contact you? Their motives quickly become transparent.
Or, the reverse is also true. It’s called, ‘I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine.’ There’s always something expected in return – the keeping of a protracted scorecard – instead of giving from a generous heart.
“I was a free man in Paris
I felt unfettered and alive
There was nobody calling me up for favors And no one’s future to decide”
What about borrowing money? My dad had a sure way to figure someone’s true worth. When he was asked to loan out money – he’d do it – with a verbal payback date. So, when the agreed time came (and went) with no offer to repay, or ask for a loan extension, etc., my dad never asked for his money back. Why? He figured he got off cheap just knowing the kind of person he was dealing with… not the same as offering to financially help someone, which he often did.
Another life lesson discussed was mutual respect (or lack of it) that people extend to one another. For example, are they the kind who constantly criticize, condemn and complain? Whereas, informed criticism can be constructive, pointing an uninformed finger of blame leaves you with four fingers pointing right back at you.
“Who on earth d’you think you are
A super star?
Well, right you are!”
– Instant Karma (We All Shine On) by John Lennon
When young, I didn’t have the discipline to stop and listen, so I’d jump to conclusions – something I wouldn’t want done to me. Where’s the acceptance? Where’s the understanding? So, does any situation give us permission to show less humanity? What type of a society would we have if we routinely made others feel less than they are by not having faith in who they can be?
American President, Theodore Roosevelt, had something to say about intolerance, distrust and fear: dare to see more good than bad in others.
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“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better…
The credit belongs to the man who’s actually in the arena… strives valiantly, who errs… comes up short…
Who at best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement.
Who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”