I’m a Crappy Brother

Turns out I’m not a very good brother. I sort of knew it, but sometimes I’m a little dense. This past weekend I had a chance to hear all the details. My youngest brother recently returned from a yearlong trip in Central America, and we arranged to spend a night at a nearby hot springs to catch up and connect before he moves to Colorado.

On the drive up we stopped at a pullout beside a stream on a quiet country road. After we finished our sandwiches, he took the time to let me know some of the ways that I had disappointed him during the past few years.

I had been expecting it. I could tell by the way he said, “There are some things I want to talk about,” when he suggested we take this trip, that there was some deep stuff that needed to come out. And it did.

I’ll spare you all the details, but there is one event he mentioned that really got to me and led me to ditch an article on intentions and write this one instead.

He reminded me of the time he called after his camera and journals and other things had been stolen from a friend’s car. He was so angry he was ready to hit someone and wanted to talk with me and get some perspective and, hopefully, calm down. I responded by saying that we – my wife, daughter, and I – were just sitting down to dinner. Could I call him back in 45 minutes?

Now I can hear some of you saying that was a pretty inconsiderate thing to do. And you’re absolutely right. I can imagine being on his end of the call and thinking, “yeah right, I’ll just sit here twiddling my thumbs for 45 minutes while I’m so frigging angry that I’m about to smash someone’s face in.”

If this was a court case and I was the judge, I’d say it was pretty clear. I’m guilty. I’m not a good brother. And that’s what I was thinking as I listened to him. All those “shoulds” started coming up. “I should have done this and that, oh and that other thing too.”

But it’s those shoulds that lead us down the never-ending path of pleasing others. As they say, you can’t please all the people all the time. (The actress Miranda Richardson is acknowledged as the originator of that quote by the way).

The truth is, you can’t please anyone, all the time. As soon as you step onto the path of trying to please someone else, you’re on a greased slide that’s going to dump you down into a pile of garbage. And most of us, to some degree or another, are on that slide.

When you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. You can’t. There are just too many people out there, with too many different demands. Pleasing them all the time is a statistical impossibility. And the way the Universe helps you discover this truth is by inviting you into situations where you have to choose between pleasing one person and disappointing another.

Think about it, if your goal – probably not a goal you’re consciously aware of – is to please everyone (or at least everyone you “love”) and two people you love have conflicting desires, you’re going to end up trying to please them both. Translated, that means you’re going to try to come up with a solution that will create the least disappointment. Of course that just ends up with all of you feeling irritated or possibly even downright angry.

Admit it. How many times have you bent over backwards to make someone happy only to have them say you did it wrong, or worse, not even notice that you did anything?

The classic example is the “Whose family will we spend the holidays with” discussion. You try to please everyone by spending Christmas Eve with his family and Christmas Day with hers, or having early Thanksgiving dinner with hers and later dinner/dessert with his. But in the end everyone ends up feeling gypped. His family is upset when you leave early, and her family is miffed when you arrive late. And you feel exhausted from all the running around and the energy that’s been spent trying to make everyone else happy.

And in all of those situations the question that rarely gets asked is, “what do I want?” And you know what? That’s the only question that really matters. It’s the only question that you have the capacity to answer with any degree of certainty.

And, most importantly, it’s the only question that will lead to the “right” answer. Just by asking yourself, “What do I want?” you begin to call back all the Life Energy that you are currently spending trying to first figure out what other people want and then find ways to provide it for them.

So what do YOU want? I give you permission right now, to ask that question. Yes, I know, you probably haven’t had much experience asking it. But I’m encouraging you to ask it right now. What do you want?

Because the big secret, the one I’m absolutely sure you’ve been waiting for is that the only person you can please all of the time is yourself. It’s that simple.

And I’m going to leave you right there. Yes, there’s a lot more to this. Yes, I know that simple is not easy. (Believe me, I know)! And yes I know that this probably leaves you with more questions than when you started reading it. And that’s a good thing.

It really comes down to this one simple idea and I still think Joseph Campbell said it best: Follow Your Bliss. If you do that, the rest takes care of itself.

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      4 Responses to “I’m a Crappy Brother”

      1. Evolving Times » Evolving Times Is One Year Old on January 29th, 2007 7:24 am

        […] It’s a bit hard to believe that yesterday marked the one-year birthday for the Evolving Times blog. On January 28th, 2006 I posted my first entry, and the only entry for the month, I’m A Crappy Brother. […]

      2. Edward Mills on February 22nd, 2007 7:26 am

        Just a test comment.

      3. Evolving Times » Let The Law Of Attraction Party Begin. And Bring On The Prizes! on August 1st, 2007 3:46 pm

        […] the first Evolving Times post was way back in January of 2006, it was not until I launched the Law of Attraction Blog Carnival in […]

      4. Edward Mills on October 27th, 2008 6:55 pm

        Just Testing.

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