This weekend I witnessed something that deepened a realization that I had. I watched as my children came together in an emergency situation where the middle child, my 11 year old son, was injured pretty severely. I happened to be a couple blocks away at a coffee shop when my 16 year old daughter called me. It took me only a matter of minutes to get home, but when I arrived I saw how amazingly they had already come together and handled the situation. The oldest called me only after she had already dialed 911 and had an ambulance coming. The youngest, my 8 year old daughter was heroically applying pressure to her brother’s leg. As I comforted my son I was amazed how, instead of complaining, he asked how his sisters where doing with heartfelt concern and appreciation for them.
Well, he was quickly loaded into an ambulance and we all headed to the emergency room where the care and love continued to be apparent to the ER staff. My son was soon stitched up and he will be good as new (with a really nice scar to impress the ladies with).
Here is where the story takes a turn though, and this is what I feel compelled to get off my chest today. The kids’ mother (who I divorced years ago), witnessed the love that we all had and how we interacted and immediately began to lash out. To the point of really hurting my 16 year old daughter and bringing her to tears.
Now I don’t want this post to be a post about a father who is bitter toward his ex wife. I’ve dealt with all of that and that is not my intent. Rather, I want to compare what I observe in her over and over to how you and I often react toward others who may be happy or successful.
It’s all around us, we live in a society that declares lack. There is never enough for everyone. Whether it’s food, or money, or happiness, we think, deep down, that if someone else has it….we can’t. Thus class envy. Thus hate speech. Thus accusatory language. Thus gossip, defamation, slander, etc… We feel that somehow, the only way we can get what we want, is to bring those who already have it down a peg or two. What? So we can “take their happiness for ourselves” or something? That makes no sense at all…and yet, I have been guilty of it and I bet if you look close enough, you can find a time that you’ve done the same…even if it’s been subconsciously.
I have watched for years as my kids’ mother consistently brings them down at the very moment she sees hope in their eyes, or a glimmer of excitement for something, or in this case, love and connection. I believe she does this because she herself is miserable and lacks the love, connection and hope that she sees rising up in these kids.
Do we do the same thing sometimes though? Do we see a successful person and think to ourselves, “I wonder how he cheated his way there”? Do we see someone who is happy in life and subconsciously resent them a little for it? Wanting “their” happiness? Is there anyone that you have watched succeed over and over, that you have wished, just a little, that they would stumble?
I guess as I thought about this, I see this as basically the same thing. I think it is basically thinking that if they have these things, we can’t have them because there isn’t enough to go around. It is a lack mentally.
Is that true though? Not at all. I believe that the truths, there is the potential for unlimited happiness for everyone! The same holds true for love, connection, smiles, success, fulfillment, food, money….anything and everything! What’s really amazing, and I’m believing more and more in this, is that what we focus on, we will get. So here we are, wanting (focusing on) bad things for others and, in reality, we are just bring those very things into our lives. Over and over again.
It won’t change until we do. Until our focus does. So I am again recommitting to being excited with and for others who are succeeding in life. For those who are happy. I know that when I am genuinely happy for them, I will open my life to accept the same blessings that they are receiving. I know that God or the universe wants to pour all of those blessings out on me….I need to be able to accept them! And I know that when I celebrate another’s success, I in no way lessen mine.