Over the past few years, I’ve been working with a client who has a very different work style and personality than mine. The first year I was offended. Didn’t she see the value of what I brought to the project? I was hired to do a job, didn’t she want me to do the job? My mind revved, like a car’s engine, pistons pumping, fueled by my ego, my need for validation, my worth squarely tied to my productivity and professional persona. Me- me- me- me- me. Selfishness had me wrapped around its ugly little finger. Knowing that right action leads to right thinking, even though my thoughts were tormenting me, I practiced being helpful and kind.
In preparation to work on the project this year, I participated in a study on different temperaments. I learned that one temperament is no better than any other, we are just different. When we understand each other’s temperament, then harmonious relationships emerge.
When we try to build a bridge between our different temperaments, personalities, and work styles, then we can find the richness of our diversity. Frustration grips us when we try to force others to think like us, to behave like us, to be like us.
Respecting the differences and actively, intentionally creating connection, allows us work and live together more fluidly. Believing that everyone will think like you or behave like you is not only selfish but foolish. When we honor each other’s differences, and recognize that we all have inherent needs, we begin to build bridges. These bridges may be clumsy and wobbly at first, but the more we seek to understand what the other person needs, and then try and meet those needs, the more steady the bridge will become.
Look. It’s not all about you. It’s about the other person. If we can shake off the selfishness, and genuinely listen to understand, then we are free of that racing mind with all its resentments and disharmony. Not only are we in a more harmonious relationship with ourselves but also with others. This is the way to peace – both within and with others.
Just For Today
I am going to try and understand other people’s needs. I’m going to try and build bridges between me and other people. When my race car mind starts to rev its engine, I’ll take it as a sign that I’m getting all wrapped up in selfishness… again. I’ll take a breath and shift from thoughts that are self centered to thoughts that are center around others.
Please grant me the self awareness when I’m in selfishness. Give me strength to shift my thoughts away from my expectations of what should or shouldn’t be. Divorce me from my right to be right and help me to bridge the gap between me and other people. Show me how best I can serve them. Let me see them the way you do.