One fine day...
In the heat of my one and only highly emotive conversation with a former manager, I once began a sentence with the words "You know, I've been thinking about when I'm on my deathbed, am I going to be more concerned that I let down my entire family or that I have upset the boss of a job I have already resigned from." I do not recommend this statement. This was a specific moment in a rather lengthy context. ( And as smarty-pants as it sounds, there was quite a valid point I was making and stand by my statement.)
However, I taught myself a lesson that day that shone out, crystal clear to me: What matters most?
What matters most to you?
If you were to ask your family what they think matters most to you, what would they say? Notice I didn't say "If I were to ask you what matters most..." because we may have that sorted in our own heads, but by our actions our families will really know. Maybe wait until you are feeling strong and good about yourself before asking your kids. We know the motives, the end goal and maybe even the game plan, but our family sees the everyday living out of that and they may see a very different picture.
In our family of six (my husband and I, our daughter and son and their respective husband and wife), we have a shared interest to varying degrees in understanding who we are, how we think and how to relate to each other. I love that. So we do all sorts of questionnaires and pool our information. Gift giving has never been easier in this family!
And we love to spend time together. We are all very different, but there are some similarities too. Learning about each other and sharing our lives together is second nature to each of us. Celebrations include each other as much as possible. Because we want to share each other's achievements and joys. Hard times are shared too, because those happen too. We aren't perfect, but we are family.
What REALLY matters most?
Anthony Robbins has said "Where the focus goes, the energy flows." Which is a simple way of saying that what your focus is determines your energy expenditure. If you find that you are constantly pointing out what is wrong with something, or someone, you will become increasingly aware of what is wrong or lacking or negative. If you have decided that to lose weight you have to not eat certain foods, isn't it the case that often that is exactly what you crave?
So choose what to focus on. What is right, good and positive about that person? What foods do you GET to eat to increase your health? Do you see the difference?
It's the principle of "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" from the bible in Matthew 6:21. Your treasure isn't only your money: It's what you hold as valuable.
The following are some questions to ask yourself as an indicator of what truly matters to you. If you don't like the honest answers you give, change your focus.
What happens when the phone rings during mealtime with your family?
How do you respond when something interrupts your plans?
How do you spend your spare money?
How do you prefer to spend your time?
Stuff is stuff. It can be fun. But it is not your identity. A career may be an indicator of the choices we have made, but it doesn't deserve your absolute focus. It's people. People. Messy, insensitive, emotional, incomprehensible people.
People. It's people.
People matter. Let them know. Even the ones you don't know yet. See them. Smile. Acknowledge their existence. Get out of your own head and use your eyes. You don't have to be best buds with everyone, but the lady you pass in the aisle at the grocery store may be feeling like nobody cares if she lives or dies. The guy at the bar may just be there to self-medicate the pain away. We don't know people's stories. But everyone has one. Everyone IS one.
Tell people you care. "Have a great day." "Drive safe." "I love your dress." Whatever. Just let them know they're not invisible. And those you see everyday, your family, your friends: One day they might not be there and r
egret is a terrible thing. Say the words. Let them know you appreciate them, you're proud of them, you think they're great. And always say "I love you". It's important. People are important. You've got them in your life. You can make or break their day, week, month. Let them know they matter. You've got this!