Yesterday it occurred to me that I act like a vending machine.
My rows of goods & services include: Two bottles of writing. One bag of EFT sessions. A roll of coffee shop dates. Two packs of brainstorming. One can of phone calls to family.
Each item collects dust in my display case until it becomes someone’s quick indulgence. When a friend, relative or stranger provides the appropriate exchange, I dole out my goods.
If I could shower every passerby with treats, regardless of a mutual payoff, I would. I just wasn’t built that way.
Wait. I lied.
I was built that way. I was born with open shelves of goodies. I had the capacity to shower any stranger with love.
As a kid, I didn’t care about the outcome of my actions. I sang original songs. I laughed for no reason. I loved on my friends & family with zero regard for if they would return the emotion.
I put up my plexiglass casing when I realized that some people weren’t replenishing what I gave them. I saw the way they disliked, misused & threw away my free offerings.
- An impromptu dance performed for family was replaced with my sister’s critiques.
- An excitement to play was ignored because of my dad’s “adult” worries.
- An attempt to cook lunch was acknowledged with parental jokes about an inedible dish.
To protect myself from feeling dumb or embarrassed, I learned to assess potential outcomes before I made a move.
- If I send them the random gift, and they hate it, how will they look at me?
- If I compliment them for no reason, and they ignore my praise, is it worth it?
- If I help them lighten their load, and they don’t approve of my work, what will they tell my friends
If I could assess the payoff, I could assess if it was worthy of my time. My every action became grounded in: Will this be beneficial or detrimental for me…me…me?
I put a price on every one of my actions. That way, I could be certain that I was participating in a fair exchange.
My interactions with others became handshake agreements: I will do this one thing, trusting that you will pay me back.
My interactions evolved into vending machine etiquette: Once you give me something, I can give you something in return.
I had forgotten that I get restocked, all the time.
What two questions keep selfish behavior in check?
- Am I doing this for a reward?
- Am I doing this to feel worthy of a reward?
If the answer is YES, followup with this question.
3. How much will I let my love grow from this behavior?
When my behavior expresses love, I keep it fresh, I let it grow, and I let love spread.
If this resonated, take a second & appreciate it. Then, spread it. Other people might too.