It Starts With Us


Last week I wrote about focus. If we focus on the negative of what we want (“I don’t want to parent like my parents,” for example) we will actually gravitate toward it. Building on that, if we want a specific treatment by others, we must be it in order to receive it.

Have you ever woken up in the morning just feeling like an asshole? And lo and behold, there were assholes everywhere? In the drive-thru line at Jack in the Box, in the ethnic foods section at Pavilion’s, even at Yoga Works when that damn lady scooted her mat irritatingly close. We want kindness from others, but it’s difficult for people to be nice when we’re impatient, cold and huffy.

On the flip side, when you’re in an awesome, empathetic and loving mood, ever notice how everyone around just seems to be in a good mood, too? People say hi on the street, open doors, say how much they love talking to us, and the world around us just gives.

It reminds me of (warning: Disney-Geek moment!) a scene from one of my favorite movies, Meet The Robinsons, when the villain, Goob, reveals his identity and explains his background to the hero, Lewis, an aspiring 12-year old inventor. The sequence takes us back to when the two lived together at an orphanage as boys. It shows a young Goob, sulking down the hall as energized friends pass by saying, “Hey Goob! Want to come over to my house today?” “Hey Goob! What’s up? Cool binder!” In contrast the warmth he receives from his classmates, he narrates the scene saying, “…they all hated me.” The montage continues to show young Goob losing it during adoption interviews and ultimately the once sweet and supportive little boy, turns into a loaner and resentful villain.

Isn’t it funny how that works? At his core, he yearns to be included, wanted and accepted. Don’t we all? What Goob missed is that to receive love he must be loving. Yelling at people and ignoring bids (attempts to connect) is one sure way to receive disconnect. If we really commit to being what we want to receive from others, it'll payoff in the long run.

What does that look like? If we want forgiveness, forgive. If we want to be included, we must be someone who reaches out and includes. If we want to receive attention, we must give others the spotlight.

It might sound counter-intuitive. Yes, I know. But have you ever seen someone who wants attention so bad, it may as well be written on her forehead? And when you see that, you don’t really feel like giving it to them, right? When you come across someone who has a way of making everyone feel acknowledged and included, those are the people you – and many others around you – gravitate toward.

So when we're frustrated that we aren't getting the treatment we want from the world, think about how we're showing up in it. Let's be what we ask for from others. It starts with us.

"Be the change that you wish you see in the world." 

-Mahatma Gandhi