by Bernie Furshpan (Article #3 in the Series)
If you’re reading this, thank you – the title worked.
No one likes to be taken for granted and it seems to be prevalent on many levels in human behavior. I certainly don’t enjoy being at the receiving end of this circumstance and I’m sure you don’t either. However, we all take thousands of things for granted every minute of the day. It’s the things that hurt your ego which you torpedo your attention to with a critical eye.
What do you take for granted? First and foremost, you take your body for granted – The temple of your physical existence. How much attention and appreciation do you give the human vehicle that you reside in? Do you look the other way when you abuse it? Do you ingest things that you know are harmful in the long run? Your body is a mega-multi-tasking machine, and while you’re reading this article, your body is not procrastinating. In one minute, it is spawning 120 million new red blood cells, 40,000 new skin cells, shooting trillions of chemical signals and about 90 billion electrical transmissions. These and billions more activities occur without your effort or thought. You don’t think about these things unless something goes wrong.
You also take for granted your relationships with those things in nature that protect and feed you, the people in your life, your material things, your knowledge and experience and your accomplishments. It’s a large inventory and a tall order to think about each one and so your basic assumption is that these things will always be there for you. You don’t think about these things unless something goes wrong.
To the point – when you’ve been seduced by things and people, you wrap your arms around them and then quickly push them to the back of the line so that you can focus on the next new desirable thing. Once out of sight and out of mind, you tend to assume they’ll always be circling in orbit around you. You don’t think about these things unless something goes wrong.
This behavior, though natural, tends to create a perception that the things you’ve harbored are guaranteed to remain with you. The formula that tends to get us in trouble is Relationship + Assumed Guarantee = Trust. Your many relationships fall into categories such as Mental and Physical Health, Interpersonal relationships, Money, Jobs, Customers, Material Things and many more.
Most of us focus on the Trust part of the formula. Of course, many of us automatically distrust because we’ve been disappointed and hurt by the hazardous supposition of the “Guarantee.” When you shift your attention from Trust to the Guarantee and accept that there are none, you’ll find yourself paying closer attention to the relationship, which will slow down the erosion process.
Have you ever heard a business owner say, “How I wish my employees treated this business the way I do?” The underlying reason for this is because employees have a false illusion that their job is guaranteed to be there week after week, regardless of slowdowns or seasonal drops in business. A business owner is not guaranteed a paycheck and is always on edge with his/her relationship with money and work.
Older children living at home have the sense that the roof over their heads and dinner on the table is a long-term guarantee. You hear parents complaining that they had hoped their offspring would be more appreciative and independent.
A salesperson bends over backwards and calls you persistently until you sign on the dotted line. Afterwards, you don’t hear a peep from him.
It’s when you get seriously ill and end up in a hospital bed, or you’ve been fired or dumped, or perhaps a customer walks out that you awaken to the loss and willing to do anything to get back what you had. That’s what it takes, the loss, for most people to wake up to the relationship and appreciate someone or something.
How do I keep up the quality of my relationships? I stay aware and take inventory of people and things that are important to me. I always assume that keeping them in my orbit is sometimes a roll of the dice and there’s always a chance their number will come up. I think about my situation without them. That’s the secret of being grateful. If you had second chances with those things you’ve lost, how would you treat them now, knowing that their existence and relationship with you was NEVER A GUARANTEE?