There are two kinds of people that we meet, the ones that enrich our lives and the ones that wreck our lives. One we can never forget because they bring us joy. The others we can never forget because they bring us pain. We shouldn’t worry about the people that we meet. We should be more concerned about the people that meet us.
How do you leave your friends feeling?
Because we live in a self-centered world, we are always concerned about how we are treated. Once we trade up selfish living for selfless living we become more concerned about how we treat others.
We hear it all the time, what other people think of us is none of our business, but what if it is? I don’t mean in a negative way, people can think some pretty untrue and hurtful things about us. It is true that we should never base opinions of ourselves on what others opinions are. Think about it this way, instead of caring what other people think about us, we should care how other people feel around us. How do we leave people feeling when we are gone? Do we leave our friends stronger or weaker, encouraged or discouraged? Do we build people up with our words or do we tear them down? Do we spend more time listening and less time talking? In a nutshell what kind of mood do we leave people in?
Maya Angelou put it this way, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Do we genuinely put others before ourselves? When we leave the presence of friends are they happier, more confident? Do they feel like they have been loved? When I was young I was taught that if you borrow something you give it back in better condition than when you took it.
Spending time with friends can be equated to borrowing their time, after all isn’t borrowing a form of sharing and aren’t you sharing time with friends when you are together? After spending time with friends are you leaving them in a better condition, stronger, lifted up, in a better mood with a sweeter disposition and a more positive attitude? We all have friends like this, or at least one friend like this, but what about the opposite? I think we have all had suckers in our life, you know the friends that suck the fun out of everything and even worse suck the life out of us. They are arrogant, condescending, snobbish and just plain not nice. You know how you feel when they leave; heavy, down, burdened, drained, sad and weak. Should we make a commitment that when we leave our friends they feel lifted up, encouraged, light, happy and strong?
In the world of social media, we all can boast about having 1000 friends. Well, not all of us can boast about having that many friends if your Facebook page is anything like mine, I was ecstatic when my profile reached 150. Surrounding ourselves with a lot of people doesn’t automatically make us altruistic. Popularity does not equal selflessness. Selflessness is measured by sacrifice. How many times have you sacrificed for one of your friends?
Sacrifice doesn’t always mean donating a kidney. Sacrifice can be a much simpler gesture. For example, you can sacrifice sleep, clothes, transportation, money, time or just a simple conversation. Have you ever met a friend for lunch after a particularly bad morning and all you wanted to do was vent, but all they wanted to do was talk about the great day they were having? Did you rejoice with them, leaving your complaints tucked firmly away for the time being?
Sacrificing one conversation for a friend is not the end of the world. You will talk to that friend again and it will be her turn to sacrifice for you. The same is true if this example were reversed; she could have sacrificed her great day to listen to your vent, knowing that she will be able to share with you another time.
How many times have we been in this scenario and left upset because we didn’t get to share our news or our vent? Sometimes we feel that in order to be in a friendship we have to talk, we have to push, we have to make sure that we are heard. Sometimes being in a friendship means just being still and listening. Rejoicing with them in their joy and crying with them in their sorrow, putting our own needs aside for just a little while.
The selfish need to make sure they are heard, the selfless need to make sure others are heard.
Can we leave the above-mentioned conversation content knowing that we sacrificed a little of ourselves to a friend that needed it? Will it ever come back around?
So many times, we feel if we give and give that we will never get anything in return. In a perfect world, for every person you selflessly give yourself to there will be a friend waiting around the corner to selflessly give themselves to you.
No, we don’t live in a perfect world but we can start by concerning ourselves with how we make people feel.
Matt 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…”