Excerpt from Limitless Loving Leadership (ISBN 978-1-300-65933-4, 92 pages, $12.99)
You never know what might happen. Five years ago, I met a guy that I considered to be an asshole. He was a dynamic speaker, a passionate advocate for many of the things I also deeply care about, and had a certain magnetism about him – but he was still an asshole in my opinion. His obnoxious vocal intonation, suffocating ego, and ability to argue without relent offended my sensibilities. Soon after, he edited an article that I wrote. While I enjoyed working with him in this capacity, my opinion remained intact.
Four years later, I received a friend request from him on a popular social networking site. Soon after the friend request came the getting together request. I was surprised that he even remembered my name or who I was – and now he wanted to see me? I wasn’t entirely opposed to the idea, but busy girl that I am, I blew him off. He did not pursue the meeting and we sporadically kept in touch online.
A few months later, I found myself suddenly lusting after him – mostly but not exclusively intellectually. We went out for dinner and had a great time. Was what I really experienced through him a shaking of my soul?
I am the one who was an asshole. I was only able to see this friend one-dimensionally and my misinformed opinion was mostly based upon his public persona. I passed up an opportunity to strengthen a friendship because of my own biases and shortsightedness. I regret harboring unsavory feelings toward this remarkable man and denying his initial request to spend time with me.
Unexpected opportunities, relationships, and blessings are all around us at every moment. How many have you passed by today?
Imagine yourself to be an amoeba with a selectively-permeable cell membrane. As you move along your path, changing shape in response to the flow of life, allow good people and experiences to enter your heart and soul. Be open to new ideas that may add dimension, beauty, and fortitude to what you already know and believe. Generously share your time, ideas, and resources with others and be open to them returning the favor. Let go of preconceptions about who you are and who you ought to be; let life, along with its mysteries and miracles, unfold.
When we keep an open mind and fluid heart, there is a possibility that bad stuff will find its way in there too. We don’t always have the ability to distinguish between what is and is not in our best interest when we have insufficient information or rush to conclusions. We may be too trusting and allow others to abuse the boundaries of our relationships. Be proactive in detecting, countering, minimizing, and eliminating anything that seeks to maliciously infiltrate your precious life. When your heart and mind have been usurped by savage invaders, lovingly envision a realization of your initial intentions and keep working toward that goal despite the challenges.
You can prepare to bounce back from these betrayals by developing your capacity to practice resilience on an ongoing basis. Resilience is your mental, emotional, and physical ability to experience inner peace in the midst of chaos. This skill can be strengthened through meditation and reflection, by building supportive relationships, and with repeated exposure to increasingly complex life experiences.
The delights of love, romantic or otherwise, far outweigh the potential risk of being hurt, deceived, or abused. Be vigilant and make self-protective choices that filter and repel destructive relationships and experiences. Prepare to effectively deal with painful situations, but expect wonderful things to happen as a result of being open and flexible.