One day, three or four years ago, a very nice guy held the door of the post office open for me so I could manoeuvre the stroller containing my niece through the door. I thanked him and he replied, “Life is easier when someone holds the door for you.” I remembered his words because they are so true. Whether it is an actual physical door someone is holding open for you because your hands are full, or just as a courtesy, or whether it is a symbolic door, life is easier with the assistance of others. Yet, that is easier said than done! We are often readily willing to hold doors, of various varieties, real or otherwise, for other people. Who hasn’t helped someone out at one time or another just because you were there and able? However, we are often unwilling to allow others to do the same for us. We fear and shun the kindness of others. Why? On the flip side, there are those who demand that other people hold doors for them and yet they are not willing to reciprocate or even acknowledge the assistance they have received. They too fear the kindness shown to them. Why? What is it about kindness that we can find so threatening? Why do we tend to feel that we don't deserve help, or that we are being a burden and inconveniencing someone who offers assistance? Or, is it that we fear that we will be required to reciprocate in a way and means that we feel we are unable? Our society prizes, and promotes, independence to an almost fanatical degree at times, yet, we can’t do everything ourselves, no matter how much we think we can. We can only exist, and thrive, in community. And community requires interacting and assisting others around us. We have lost so many of the small societal courtesies that were a part of everyday life for ages. Those little courtesies that some considered demeaning and condescending and wanted the world to stop. Yet, they weren’t demeaning. What they really were was a sign that someone cared enough to show kindness to someone else. Do you still care?
Beth's Ponderings No matter what area of our lives we are dealing with, we all have an idea of what we want the ‘ideal’ to be, our ultimate wish list of the perfect outcome, be it a dream job, the place we want to live, something we want to achieve, or a particular relationship. Generally, it is good to have goals and dreams, and achieving these dreams and goals helps us develop into the person we are destined to become. However, sometimes we discover that what we thought we wanted is not really what we want.There is an old saying, “Be careful what you wish for, as you may get it.”We find out that the dream job is not such a dream, the place we want to live is not a nurturing environment, the achievement is not enriching our lives, or the relationship is going nowhere. One reason for this is because we confuse the external wants for the internal wants. The externals - job, new location, achievement, relationship, etc. - are merely different paths to our internal wants. Once we realize the difference, and acknowledge the internal wants, then we can see more options available to us and can stop fixating on one narrow path. There are many paths our lives can take. We are not being forced to choose just one. Nor does it mean that if we miss one path we should just give up as our lives are over. While it is important to identify our internal wants, that isn’t the whole story either. What we want isn’t always what we need. And life has a unique habit of giving what we need more often than we get what we want. Our wants are many, but few of us ever really take the time to think about what we need in particular life situations to help us grow and move forward. Wanting something is not bad, but sometimes we are required to release the desire for what we want so we can welcome into our lives what we need, which ultimately will lead to greater happiness in the long run.