730am Good Morning
He sees her walking down the sidewalk. “My baby!”, He exclaims as her beauty sways with the rhythm of her walk.
“Good morning to you!”, He says excitedly as she walks in the door. Her mumbling response, which he couldn’t quite make out showed her indifference.
“Don’t smother me in the morning!” She raised her voice as he playfully came close.
She’d been awake and alone since 5 a.m. She would regularly take advantage of his desire to sleep in later so she could have quiet and solitude in the early mornings. Now, at 730, she’s still not quite ready to engage with another human.
Feeling put off he wondered how, after two and a half hours, she could still not be ready to receive a simple and happy greeting from him.
He began to take it personally when she offered kind words of affection to the dog. “We had a great walk didn’t’ we!?”, she lovingly declared. It was the type of loving-kindness he wanted to feel with her, mutually.
His attitude sank more and more. Feeling unloved, his joy became sadness and sadness became distance. He drove away without saying goodbye. He hated the fact that he did it. “But she doesn’t like “good mornings” or being “smothered” and would rather spend her morning with the dog so …” His attitude was silly and he knew it.
Thinking it through and getting his frustration down on paper, he wrote.
“This is one of the ways we are different. It’s something I have to constantly navigate and understand. But what I needed to say is, “I’m happy to see you this morning.” That is the pure fact. I need to express myself with clear, pointed communication instead of with expectation. I should allow her self-expression to be whatever it is. I need to find freedom in being and expressing myself because that expression is what is true for me. That freedom is real. My pure self-expression shows my beauty, depth, and life-energy. It shows who I am. There is self-respect, true love and wisdom in that; in me.
The problem isn’t with her. The problem is my unknown and unknowable expectations, my self-centeredness, my emotional immaturity at any given moment when my best intentions seem, in my imagination, to be squashed by the person I have so much regard for.
I failed to continue being me. Driving away without saying goodbye was not my true self. That is not who I am. That is not who I want to be. If anything in this relationship or this world is to change it begins with me. These weaknesses must find their death because they have a way of devastating me and, then, I fail to show up as the best version of myself. My security should be in my own existence and self-hood, not whether my love or excitement is reciprocated by anyone else or if more love and excitement is seemingly given to someone other than me.
The scariest part of this is knowing that just because I change or make emotional progress doesn’t automatically mean she will. She may never change. But what does that have to do with my own personal best?”
This is easier said than done. While he is learning the value of expressing himself without attachment, it is obvious that she is already doing so. This is usually the case. The offending party is typically clueless of their offense. In this case, it is a heartbreaking fact. But, we can see his clear decision to examine himself, for the greater good, rather than blame or accuse. We can see a person owning their identity by taking responsibility for their selfhood.
People are part of our environment. People will have an affect on us. But we can choose who we will be in those moments. Using the mistakes of others to excuse our own is sophomoric. The shortcomings of those around us are actually opportunities for exponential personal growth.
Every moment counts. Do we want the people around us to know we are safe to be with- that we see their importance and value? If we can do that we can also call our relationships a success.
Perhaps, if our expressed good-will toward another is in some way attached to what we might get in return, our expressed good-will isn’t as virtuous as we may think it is.
Good morning to you, even when… even if…