One of the things I love about my relationship with my wife is the fact that we talk. I mean we really talk about a lot of things. We don’t just talk about “the business” stuff that needs to get done we talk about life. One of the things that we often talk about is the fact that so few people seem to get the fact that life is hard. It’s even harder when you do dumb things. (See my post yesterday).
It amazes me how many people think that life is about them. One of the things that cracks me up is when my wife and I get talking about different situations that we hear about and we’ll often talk about how I would handle the situation if I was counseling that person. We’ll usually laugh because often Erica will come back with, “Really? I’d just tell them to buck up and deal with life.”
While we laugh, I really think she’s onto something. Somehow, we’ve failed to prepare people to deal with life. It always amazes me when people think they just need to achieve something to be happy. The single person thinks once they get married they’ll be happy, the married (and still unhappy person) thinks that once they become a parent they’ll be happy. The parent thinks once he or she can leave their spouse and get out of their current situation they’ll be happy. This is crazy and dangerous thinking. Not only is it just flat out wrong, it’s dumb.
We know a guy that studied his whole life to do a certain career. As long as I’ve known him, he wanted to do this one thing. The girl he married knew he wanted to do this one thing. He went to school thousands of miles away from his home so he could do this one thing. Now he works at a job he hates because his wife couldn’t handle the demands his dream job put on him. He hates his job and to be honest, he sounds like he hates his life. Now, to be sure they both knew what the other person was like before they were married (the wife complained loudly about how much she hated the job before they were married) but to me this illustrates so completely what I’m driving at here.
We’ve raised an entire generation that thinks life is completely about them and the casualties of this particular hubris can found everywhere and is extremely high. Nowhere are the casualties more prevalent than in our relationships. How many of us know a husband or a wife that manipulates their spouse to get what they want to the detriment of their overall relationship? They always do what one spouse wants to do and then one day things just blow up and a separation or a divorce happens and everyone wonders what happens.
Let me change direction here for a minute, what about the people who complain all the time? You ask them how whatever was and no matter what the question they respond with a complaint? They get a gift and complain because it’s not the exact one they wanted. I know a guy who was able to pay cash for a brand new mustang and complained because he didn’t like the tires. There are entire blogs that are nothing more than gripe sessions. The whole blog talks about how things don’t turn out to the person’s expectations. Isn’t that the ultimate indicator of self obsession?
Do you still need more proof? How about the people who always share the “bad” things that are happening to them? You know those people that you’re afraid to even say Hi to because you never know what their going to come back with.
Here’s the point: everyone has hard things happen. I’m not saying people shouldn’t share, in fact I think not sharing at all is another sign of self absorption. It is equally devastating to relationships. It comes down to what you choose to focus on. Some people didn’t get the memo: Life is hard. It requires perseverance. It is not about you. It is not about me. We have too many people who have sun disease–that affliction that causes people to think that the sun rises and sets on their backside.
The more we can teach people (and I include myself here) that life–especially the Christian life–is hard and difficult the better off those people will be. It’s also very rewarding, no doubt. What do you choose to focus on? What do I choose to focus on? Everyone has bad things happen and almost everyone has good things happen to them.
What is the focus of our life? Really and truly. Not what do we give lip service to being the focal point but what do we really focus on? Life is hard, and life is good. For most people, it is both. I’m not naive, I know that for some people life is nothing but hard, but let’s be honest those people probably are not sitting in this country. It’s time we all take some inventory of our lives and ask ourselves what our actions say our values are. It’s hard to say that you love someone if you are manipulating them. It’s hard to say that you’re concerned about others when you’re actions are all about you.
Life is an opportunity. What are you doing with that opportunity? Life is tough, be tougher. Do something with your opportunity.