"No one owes me anything. But I owe all good to all people.”
I learned this years ago from my friend Don Campbell, who started each day by saying those words aloud. “It’s like giving up resentment in advance,” said Don. Instead of holding on to expectations for another’s behavior, we only hold on to an expectation for ourselves.
One of his favorite examples is a trip to the grocery store. “So, the checkout person is irritable? Hey, she doesn’t owe you a smile. But you’re going to smile at her because that’s the way you want to live.”
This morning, Don’s words reminded me that the swimmer didn’t owe me a non-splashy swim. I could simply turn my head as he swam by, and smile in a friendly way when I left the pool.
And the swimmer smiled back!
Try these words as you begin your day. It might give you a new way to respond to a whole host of petty irritations.