Who Said Life Was Easy?

I’m not exactly sure when people started becoming so sensitive, or when they began expecting life to be without offenses or struggles. Children believe they should be allowed to do whatever they want, whenever they want; adults are under the delusion life should be replete with happiness and material possessions (what’s a budget?); and everyone has developed a sense of entitlement.

Well, I have two pieces of information it would behoove you to learn: (1) life is not meant to be easy, (2) and nobody owes you anything.

Life is a process . . . and just being a human being is difficult. You have to deal with sickness, pain, suffering, financial responsibility, etc. Moreover, you will have times when you’re rejected by someone, offended, slandered without cause, left out, or criticized for your mistakes. Get used to it; it’s unavoidable. Also, individuals with strong convictions will struggle to maintain those beliefs—just ask any Christian.

If you need further examples, how many times have you simultaneously loved someone and been annoyed by them? Dealing with the guilt from those mixed emotions is challenging. Or have you ever wanted to change a situation but realized you didn’t have the ability? That is a truly humbling experience.

However, all of these difficulties come with opportunities to learn and grow. After all, you cannot master patience without practicing being patient. You’ll never develop strength without first enduring the stress. And success usually follows many, many failures.

So, toughen up and relish the beautiful process of life.

And I’ll leave you with a quote from Bruce Lee: “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”

Stop Saying You Don’t Have Time

There are few things more annoying in life than having a person inform you they are “so busy” when you inquire as to how they are doing. Maybe they believe it makes them sound important, but I can assure you, it makes them sound pretentious. Furthermore, those same individuals will bemoan their lack of time to assist someone or accept an invitation to an event.

Please … just stop it!

Everyone is occupied with family, work, church, relationships, sports, etc., but that is no excuse for poor behavior. … What these people are enigmatically saying is this: I’m very important and you are not a priority to me. Moreover, whatever offer is extended to them is not of any significance either. Otherwise, they would make the “time.”

I implore you. When someone takes the opportunity to question you about your day, give them your full attention and avoid terse responses. And if you’re extended an invitation, be honest with the individual and explain why you are not interested. … Or better yet, get out of your comfort zone and accept the offer. You never know, you just might enjoy yourself.

Kindness Without Recompense

I recently overheard someone communicating their displeasure with individuals that don’t express gratitude when you hold a door open for them. And this got me to thinking:

How often do people perform acts of kindness without expecting some sort of reward?

You see … our world has become so me-centered that we’re practically programmed to look for recompense around every corner. And while there is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself, it’s unhealthy and irrational to have expectations of reciprocity for every gesture of benevolence.

Moreover, God tells us, “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil (Luke 6:35, King James Version).”

So, I put before you this challenge: Spend some time in deep introspection, contemplating your motives for any acts of kindness. And if you find your reasons are filled with self-benefit, no matter how minor, work on becoming a little less selfish when it comes to helping others. … You might be surprised at how much better it makes you feel.

Do We Really Want the Truth?

If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard someone express how much they appreciate honesty in people, I would be a wealthy man. … But are individuals who proclaim their appreciation for truthfulness actually telling the truth?

Sure, I think we can all agree there are times when you have to be judicious when expressing your opinion. When a wife gets asked by her husband if he looks fat, she might not need to be entirely candid. Or when a girlfriend inquires as to your love of her bland and overcooked pot roast, your first words should be: it’s delicious, dear.

Courteousness aside, do people really want honesty most of the time?

The short answer to that question is: it depends on the individual. Not all people are mentally or emotionally mature enough to handle the cold, hard truth. And others are so convinced of their own reality that truth is of no importance to them.

So … the takeaway is that when dealing with human beings you must understand the individual and their idiosyncrasies. And if there is any doubt or uncertainty as to how an individual will react to the facts, it would behoove you to error on the side of caution.

This does not mean you directly lie to someone or compromise your morals/principles. However, there are times when you have to know when to keep your mouth shut. (Words once spoken cannot be unspoken.) And remember: “real truth” is not up for debate.