Everyone that comes into your life has a gift for you. Sometimes the gift is a funny story, a friendship or just a passing smile on the street. Sometimes the gift is a lesson in humility, patience or tolerance. Opening your mind and heart to the gifts being offered, opens you to the lessons that you need to learn. These lessons aren’t random; they occur when you need them and in a way to make an impact.
Amy had a friend who seemed to enjoy criticizing her. When they got together, Beth would often throw out a cutting jab or condescending snipe. With just a quick, short one-liner, Beth would fault Amy’s clothes, hair or even the book that she was reading. As unpleasant as this was, Amy saw value in her friend and their friendship, and she wanted to maintain their relationship. Amy believed that her lesson to learn was how to handle her friend’s bad behavior in a kind way, so she meditated on staying calm and being kind. She was able to be more calm and to be more kind, but nothing else changed. She knew that she had to go deeper.
Amy closed her eyes and imagined her friend in front of her. She saw her charming smile, her sparkling eyes and loving heart and asked, “What do you need to feel worthy?” The answer came immediately, “To be treated as though you respect and value me.” Amy opened her eyes in shock. She had no idea that she was treating her friend in a way that could be perceived as being disrespectful. She accepted that her own behavior had to have contributed to the situation.
Amy was secure in her own appearance, intellect and talents, and she realized that her own assuredness may have appeared to be condescending or arrogant to someone with lower self-esteem. Her new plan: before seeing or talking to Beth, Amy would picture her in her mind and consciously open her own heart to feel the true value in her friend. By doing this, she changed her own behavior and when her behavior changed, so did Beth’s. It’s difficult to break decades-long behavior patterns and change doesn’t happen overnight, but as Amy proved, it is possible and well worth the effort. Their relationship is stronger now than it has ever been.
Amy knew that this lesson was about more than just her relationship with Beth. It was about all of her relationships and how she interacted with all of the people in her life, and it couldn’t have happened at a more opportune time. She was pursuing a new business venture and was meeting many new people. By taking the lesson to heart, Amy learned to listen deeper and connect on a more authentic level.
Dead people say: You aren’t perfect. You’re here to learn things. If you let them, other people will give you that opportunity.