In my last blog I talked about the six different types of love according to the ancient Greeks. All involve how much of you that you choose to bring to the table. But what if the table is set but it just doesn’t feel quite right? Maybe the food is not truly what you really want to eat. Maybe the ambience is missing. Do you take the time to honestly examine what is and isn’t working according to what you truly want? Do you try to change something or simply accept that maybe, just maybe, this is about as good as it gets. It’s possible that you think you are being too critical or unappreciative of the banquet laid out before you. Well, think again. It’s about you. This is your life and it is up to you to choose to accept, negotiate or change the situation or live with the consequences. The different types of love can be quite enlightening when you begin thinking about them through the metaphor of consumption.
What you are willing to accept or consume says a lot about your own self worth. After all, you are the head of your own table. You are not selfish or wrong if you decide the table, menu or overall atmosphere simply doesn’t work for you. In fact, you owe it to yourself to be completely truthful and decide what you want, what you deserve and what you can live with in your life. Regardless of how attractive the table setting is or how beautiful the food presentation happens to be, you know intuitively in your head and heart if it will work for you long term. Maybe short term is as good as it gets for now. If you can’t bring your total self to the table it’s okay. Congratulate yourself for your discernment, being wise and aware of your own needs first. After all, you can’t make others happy if you are not completely happy yourself.
It’s about being brave enough to be your authentic self. Each of us has chosen our life on this planet for specific reasons and lessons to learn. Is it possible that one of these lessons is to love yourself enough to choose rather than accept what is set before you. Some people might think that they should be grateful for what is and not expect more. Really? Those are exactly the type of people who end up later in life thinking to themselves. ‘Is that all there is?’
Gretchen Rubin, the author of ‘The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun,’ said the following:
“The belief that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish is misguided. It’s more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted, yet everyone takes the happy person for granted. No one is careful of his feelings or tries to keep his spirits high. He seems self-sufficient; he becomes a cushion for others. And because happiness seems unforced, that person usually gets no credit.”
If you find yourself trying to make others happy with the banquet of life stop and reconsider. Could they be sitting at the wrong table? People come into our lives for a reason, season or a lifetime. There is something you can learn from this person even if they are ultimately at the wrong table.
The challenge in life is to give yourself the gift of time to find determine what makes you happy. If it involves another person, the questions I would suggest you consider are: Do you laugh together? Is the other person capable of asking for forgiveness and accepting it? Do they realize they have a lot of work to do on their own character and realize that on going growth is essential? If you can answer yes to these points your table is set, the banquet of life beautifully prepared and you are on your way. If not, maybe you are at a point in your life where eventually a recalibration will become necessary. Accept the time you had with grace and gratitude and move on knowing in your heart that something better is just around the corner.
Have a great few days!