When people enter a relationship, it is common to ask “What is in it for me?” or “What will I get out of it?” Potential employees perhaps are considering how the job may affect personal or family life. Employers have their own set of questions that are also variations on the same theme: “What is in it for us? How will this person or this system or this acquisition benefit us?” Without completely abandoning all self-interest, it is also important to ask yourself, “What am I bring to this relationship?”
A Problematic Cycle
Selfishness permeates our culture. We hear people around us demanding their rights, insisting on their way and forcing a self-serving agenda on others. Many are frustrated, even angry, when they do not get what they want, the way they want it, when they want it. This permeating position of life is not just individually derived. It is all around us. We hear it from our friends and family members. Advertisers spend money to enhance and encourage self-interest. If we want more, we spend more and those that sell things, make more. Some folks, convinced of their own need, are intensely seeking their self-interests. When thwarted, they may become frustrated, offended and reactive.
Taking a Stand
To combat this attitude in yourself, focus on what you have to offer. “What can I give?” begins to replace “What can I get?” Ask yourself “How can I help, what do others need, and what can I do?” Consider your talent and your strengths. Can I lift someone up, improve a situation or touch another’s life?
Making a Change
Because I am focused on my attitude, character and behavior, I have the ability and the opportunity to change a relationship. When I focus on what I am getting or not getting, I end up trying to control others rather than controlling myself. Controlling myself is “Mission Difficult” – controlling others is far too often “Mission Impossible.” Trying to get more out of a relationship can be frustrating. Focusing on bringing something to a relationship is fulfilling. And when the days of this short life come to an end, my inventory will not be a list of what I got, but of what I gave.
Recovery is a journey. Enjoy the ride!