I was raised in childhood in an interesting predicament. I was short and usually below average in size as a boy. I had a few not so nice things happen to me growing up, usually because of being a minority. It would probably be cathartic for me to write those things out, but I’d rather not re-live them again. I was always somewhat naive and gullible. I appeared so even when I went into the Army.
The truth is, I’m honestly a nice guy. I never want to hurt or hate anybody. I was raised as an older brother. We lived in the country and we would get ourselves into some hairy situations out in the woods. My job was to watch out for my brother. And there were times when, if he did something wrong, I would get a spanking right along with him because I was supposed to be watching him. I learned responsibility at a very early age. Culturally as Native Americans, manhood comes early and there are things expected of us. Adulting at that young of an age made it difficult for me.
So while I walked the straight and narrow most times, my brother had all the fun. He could easily schmooze to get whatever he wanted. He went dirt bike riding. He got all the girls. He wasn’t afraid to step out and get what he wanted. While I was the shy, introverted, responsible kid. I’m still shy and introverted. There are times when I have an opportunity for something, I don’t get it. I never embellish in my work output reports since I prefer to be humble. So I probably don’t get the awards and pay raises that others get.
I was a jock and I had the option to hang out with the cool crowd when I wanted. I wrestled and nobody ever touched me. I was accepted by my peers for the athlete that I was. I was stronger than nearly all of the football players. They wouldn’t dare start something with me. But the people I chose to hang out with were the quiet people. The girls who were sitting in the library. The guys who were ostracized. I always knew they would be true to me and not dump me when someone better came along. I really love people who are true to themselves.
All of this makes me realize much about people. I can easily see through people. Self-centered-ness is super obvious. Self-centered people don’t even know they are. But it stands out like a bonfire on a mountain. There are people who never commit to something because they are always watching for something better. They are watching for what will get them a better crowd. They want only the cutest guys or girls and wouldn’t dare hang out with anything less. Younger generations do this more often, but there are people my age who do it too. They only say things to get what they want. Their feet are always pointed away from you. And when they can escape, they will. Then they both figuratively and literally shack up with the next big find they see. There’s always something better around the corner. And they’ll keep going in circles to find that perfect find.
I’ve been to a lot of funerals lately. Often its a person who was quiet and reserved all their lives. They never stood out in a crowd. They were never the chairman of the committee. They chose to serve in other ways. Humble ways. And its only when they’ve passed that you realize the profound effect they had in their lives. They did so much for so many and gave of themselves selflessly. And it was never for material gain. These are the people of honor. Not the people who get motorcades and accolades by the celebrities in attendance. These are the humble people.
The other night after teaching yoga, I had several people come up to me independently to talk about how much my class meant to them. They had nothing to gain by being so gracious to me. They just gave from their heart. They had gratitude. They were thankful for me. They didn’t have to say anything to me. But they did.
I have friends who will tell you everything about themselves in a heartbeat. But they never ask about you. They never ask how you are. They never seem to care. You have to wonder why they are friends. You wonder if they only be-friend you to see what they can get out of you. And then they quickly move on to someone better. I know a lot about other people. But most don’t know anything about me. They never ask. They like your social media posts that are about something else, but not about you. Its like they avoid getting too close because then they are committed to you. And commitment is so shackling to them. It means they actually have to give something away. But that “something” is saved for the beautiful people. Not for you.
Energy is limited. We only have so much available to us. When we invest in people, it drains part of us. But the benefit of investing in people is that they are there for you when you need them. They give back to you two- or -threefold. So its an investment worth investing in. But others are a money pit. They suck out your life and you never get it back. As much as it hurts, you have to ween yourselves away from those people. The party girls who are always watching for something better. The flashy dudes who scam you for all you got. Avoid these people.
Instead, find that quiet person in the corner. You’d be surprised at what they have to offer. Invest heavily in those people. You won’t regret how loyal and giving they are.
Have a grateful heart.