Being a 'good' person these days often translates to how much time and attention we are willing to give others. We are trained as children into being 'nice', not answering back, or being a certain way in order to get our parent's approval. While these deep conditionings in the psyche usually go unquestioned, they are driving our most basic social behaviours.
We can be genuinely amicable for much of the time, but under the influence of stress (internal or external), these deeper conditionings kick in, and out of nowhere surface a completely different set of survival strategies designed to keep us feeling safe.
Because they are unquestioned and non-negotiable, they can arrive with gusto, drama, and a heartless lack of empathy.
If our patterned response to these situations is to dominate, take control, boss others about, act intolerant, and bark, then this lack of empathy is for others.
If this archaic conditioning comes out as meekness, subservience, underselling ourselves and whimpering, then we have lost empathy for ourselves.
Neither actually work in getting us what we want (IE: to acquire love and feel safe), but they are, as mentioned, non-negotiable.
When we start to understand and unwind this in ourselves, we spot it in others around us, and in order to get those 'good boy / good girl' stickers, we are in danger of listening forever to the mechanisms that drive others.
Being a good listener, or a shoulder to cry on is a great social position to hold, but unless we are listening to ourselves, we can hardly be honestly listening to others.
The danger of forever giving to those around us - whether it is work, family, or friends - is that it will eventually catch up with us. Especially if we don't quite realise we are doing it.
Eventually the imbalance in energetic accounts may bubble up as feelings of apathy, then resentment, and intolerance. These angry feelings are themselves draining to hold, and we go back into the processes of the previous post...
Before we can truly love those around us, it would seem we must integrate and work through all our own stuff, otherwise our deeper needs remain hidden, and arise as unforeseen, unhealthy agendas in our love for others.
Self-empathy - understanding oneself - listening to what our own minds are saying - whilst not necessarily following its options - we start to get clear on where our blocks and twists are.
And we do all have them.
But to do that, we must first of all prioritise ourselves, listening to the choices we make, being authentic, and honest with compassion.
For if we don't prioritise ourselves, those twists and agendas meet the resentment and intolerance, and we may find that we have put ourselves first through arrogance, selfishness, competition, and dominance.
Who needs someone like that in their life ?
WHAT THE OLD KNOW
All cultures teach us this same process:
The importance of taking time away from the grind.
Time to take stock of one's direction.
To consider what is actually important.
Every time a questionnaire is passed around hospice rooms, where people are very contemplative by nature of being faced with the end of their mortality, the same answers come back.
"I wish I had spent more time
with my family"
"If I could do it all again,
I would follow my heart more"
"I should have just said sorry,
and made up with them"
Not one of them reports wishing they had worked harder, won that contract, or earned more money, or had a bigger house... Not one !!!
WHAT THE YOUNG KNOW
And more revealing is what our children know already, that we seem to glimpse again in our last days...
Adults were asked who they would most like to have dinner with, and the answers were typically famous people or historical figures (Hitler, Elvis, the President, Brad Pitt, etc)...
But when their children were asked the same question, they all repeated one answer, in a heart-rendering variety of ways...
They all wanted to have dinner with the family. Mom, dad, siblings, grandparents - all the superheroes they'll ever need...
So, thankfully, we aren't at that closing stage of life. The light has not started to dim, and the final curtain is not swishing past. We are still in life.
So, how about we learn from those who have gone before...
WRITE YOURSELF A GOOD ONE
You are the most important thing in your world: The centre of your universe: The author of, and the starring role in, the story that you are writing...
So, as I've said before, write yourself a good one...
And if you need the time and space to find out what that all means...