There was a time in my life that I was so wrapped up in doing what was ‘required’ of me that I was rarely present with people. When I say ‘required’ I mean those things that I knew I needed to do or those ways that I knew I needed to be (or act) so that people around me would be happy with me or satisfied. My nose was pressed so far up against that routine and I was so concerned with satisfying the people in my life that I wasn’t free to actually give the gift of myself to people. It was a paradox really. On a deep level I wanted to add value to people’s lives. But instead of doing that, I would focus on making sure people weren’t unhappy or dissatisfied with me. Either at work, at home, or in the community. It just became my default mode of operation. It was selfish actually. And the result was that when I was always doing just enough for people to not be dissatisfied, I was rarely actually adding value to the lives of those I cared about most.
A large part of it had to do with my fear of change. It used to feel like so much work to me to have to change what I was already comfortable with. I like routine. Routine is consistent. Routine helps me avoid the unknown. The biggest problem I had with change is that it meant that I would have to make hard and difficult decisions and actually give more of myself as opposed to keeping everything ‘status quo’.
Here’s the brick wall we all run into though. Change is inevitable. People change. Organizations change. Governments change. People change their minds, their preferences, their wants, their needs, their perspectives, their ___________. You can try to resist change, but you’ll be left behind. Even more tragic, you will not be adding value to this world.
This world needs you. We need your heart. We need your mind. We need you to be present and to bring yourself to the table. When someone close to you is dealing with a death, illness, loneliness, depression, or anything of the sort, they don’t need your routine. They need you. The essence of you.
They need you to sit with them. They need you to listen. They need to look in someones eyes and feel connected to humanity and even the Divine. If we are so fearful of change and anything out of the routine, not only will we not be able to give the gift of ourselves, we won’t even realize that the walking wounded are all around us.
Adding value to the world by being present means that we give up feeling threatened by change. It means we operate on a whole different level of honesty. It means having difficult conversations with people when we disagree with them or when they’ve let us down. What if doing the right thing wasn’t threatened by the concern of what people thought about us? What if we were empowered to tell people things they don’t want to hear when they need to hear it because we are more concerned about being present with them than what they think of us. It means not trying to get people to like us, but connecting with them and giving them ourselves. It means dropping the games. No spin. No misdirection or misleading. It means we stop trying to paint ourselves in a better light. It means being less about impressing or mitigating and more about connecting. It means being vulnerable even if we get shot down or lose our job, reputation, or pride.
How much better would the world be if we gave of ourselves regardless of the outcome? What kind of world we have to experience for ourselves if we made the choice to be more present and embrace the change?