Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What do others owe you?

Nelson Mendella’s death has reminded us all of the power of forgiveness.
And it reminds me of the spiritual motto I learned from my friend Don Campbell.
“No one owes me anything. But I owe all good to all people.”

Twelve words that, if spoken from the heart at the beginning of each day, will help us “give up resentment in advance” as Don liked to say.

The word “resentment” means feeling indignation or anger because we perceive ourselves to be unfairly treated. Some hold onto the emotion for years.

Unfairness can be real. “My company let me me go two years before retirement.” 

Yet sometimes we’re operating from a quid-pro-quo mentality, a reverse Golden Rule:  I'll be nice to you, and I expect you to treat me the exact same way. 
But there may be there may be extenuating circumstances that we don't know about. 

“I really needed her, but my friend wasn’t there for me.”
Perhaps she was going through a difficult time herself. Or perhaps she has an inner weakness—an inability to empathize— that calls more for pity than anger.

“The business clerk treated me unfairly by not responding to my smile.” 
Perhaps he is just having a rough day. 

Let us choose to relinquish our expectations that others should behave in a certain way. Instead, let us choose how we will respond. 

St. Francis prayed, “Let me seek to love, not to be loved.” 
Whatever the behavior, can we choose to live from a compassionate, loving heart?  

Will you try this? For one week  say this motto at the start of each day:

"No one owes me anything. But I owe all good to all people.”

Then watch—notice—how much better your days unfold.