Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Self Realization

Lately I've been thinking about myself a lot. Not in a selfish way, but in a self-exploring way. I've realized that I worry quite a bit about other peoples thoughts and feelings. I go out of my way to make things easier for other people. I'm always willing to fill in or help out or do extra when I can. Maybe "worry" isn't the right word. It's not like I'm loosing sleep over other people's feelings - I just am always aware of others and how whatever is effecting them.

I know that to most people this trait of mine looks pretty good. I come across as a caring, thoughtful person. But I think the problem is when I sometimes expect others to be thinking like I am. I expect Richard to (hypothetically) see the garbage cans outside and think, "I'll take those into the garage now because I know that will make Nancy happy." But really he's thinking about work or what he's going to do when he walks inside or, heck, I don't know, humming his favorite song to himself. And that's OK! He doesn't need to be thinking about how to please me at that moment. But sometimes when I (hypothetically) see him walk past the garbage cans without even giving them a second glance, I think to myself, "Ugh! How can he just walk right past those garbage cans without even thinking about taking care of them!" Or I think, "How could that person at church just leave when we're all cleaning up?" Or, "Why did that man just walk right in front of my cart loaded down with three kids and 100 pounds of groceries? He should know that it's nearly impossible for me to stop!" Poor guy. There's no way he could know how hard it is for me to stop my cart. He's never pushed a cart with 100+ pounds of kids plus groceries.

My expectations are too high. That's where the selfishness comes in - in my expectations of reciprocation.

Also, this traits of mine turns into micro-managing sometimes. Because I feel like I see what needs to be done better or clearer than others.

So I think that the conclusion to this self realization is that I need to keep up the thoughtfulness for others, but stop expecting people to give it back in exactly the same manner. I need to see that eventually Richard does take the garbage cans in (hypothetically), and the person at church has a nursing infant that she's running home to(hypothetically), and the guy in the grocery store did say "excuse me" and I'm sure he felt bad for walking in front of me and maybe he won't do it next time (not hypothetically). I need to see that just because nobody was thinking of me and how something-er-other would effect me, doesn't mean that nobody loves me. It doesn't mean that there was any maliciousness in that act of omission.

I'm not sure this is really coming across right in writing. I'm not trying to pat myself on the back, or knock myself down or get compliments. I'm just noticing something about myself. And now that I've noticed it I am figuring out whats good about it and whats bad about it. So that I can continue to become a better person like Heavenly Father has asked me to.


Farmer Joe said...

Nice work. Identification of a concern is the first step in the eradication of it. One thing I might add, not to be seen as heaping on criticism, but as a contribution to your train of thought that you may not have considered, but which seems to be along the lines of what you are saying: other folks may *already* be trying their hardest to do things for you and you may be missing those things or taking them for granted. I'm sure there is tons of stuff Richard does that you don't ever know about...

Anyway, being a farmer who is generally acknowledged to be fantastically obtuse and insensitive, I am, of course, fighting my own demons and I feel you don't even know. Thanks for sharing, and the next time I see you, I'll try to remember to look for a trashcan or two ;)

Michelle Walkenhorst said...

I'm the same way!

angela michelle said...

i agree with a lot of what you say. you can't expect people to do exactly what you would have done in that situation. you can't mandate the specifics of someone else'e help.

but i do think it's okay to expect others to help you--and to just be helpful in general. you can't do everything on your own and you shouldn't feel guilty about that.