recipe
Aug
26
2010

Thoughtful Thursday

The following is solely my opinion on things.  At times what I have written seemed rambling and disjointed.  I hope I brought it together enough to make it worth your time.  Next Thursday will be easier to write.  I found myself concentrating awfully hard gathering my thoughts on the whole purpose of writing about such a broad subject.

Just committing to writing posts for Thoughtful Thursday has prompted me to be thoughtful.  Contemplating all the definitions of thoughtful, made me think and think hard.

1. showing consideration for others; considerate.

2. characterized by or manifesting careful thought: a thoughtful essay.

3. occupied with or given to thought; contemplative; meditative; reflective: in a thoughtful mood.

4. careful, heedful, or mindful: to be thoughtful of one’s safety.

I suppose being called thoughtful would be a very high form of praise indeed.  And I reckon thoughtfulness is a virtue to strive for.  It covers so many human characteristics that make one also kind and giving.  One who is dependable and honest and not prone to impulsiveness and impertinence.

One of my very favorite quotes is:

What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other? ~ George Eliot

If you can find it in yourself to consider this thought every day of your life, with every task, everything that is asked of you or required of you, it will certainly make some bitter pills easier to swallow.

Being thoughtful, to me, means putting the needs of another above your own.  It means considering the consequences of what you choose to do or not do in any given circumstance.  It recalls that age old Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.  And in my opinion, there is certainly not enough of that going around these days.

As I am sure most everyone has, I have done things for the good of someone else when it seemed the cost to me, personally, was beyond exorbitant.  And at the time, while I most certainly did what was required, I didn’t necessarily do it with a gladness.  At times I have felt bitter, used, put upon, taken advantage of.  Looking back, however, the act of going ahead with the right thing, the thoughtful thing, paid me back in ways I couldn’t see going in.  Such is life.  And at the end of mine, I want to know I lived my beliefs.

Sometimes one is discouraged from patting oneself on the back.  I am not so sure that is ever a bad thing.  Pride is a slippery slope, but unless you reflect on a good deed done, bask in the happiness or helpfulness you have brought about, how do you ever step up the next time you are needed in such a personal way?  Sometimes the praise or thanks is slow in coming or not forthcoming at all.  We can live with that.  Surely.  You were not thoughtful so someone else would compliment you and stroke your ego, telling you how good a person you are.  You did it so when you put your head on your pillow at night, you can sleep with a clear conscience knowing when called upon, you responded and in a way that made someone’s life less difficult.  Sometimes that peaceful rest and clear head is more than any “thank you” could ever be.

Often I used to say to my youngest brother “When you wake up each day you have choices.  You have to ask yourself, will I do the right things today or the easy things?”  More often than not, those things are not the same things.  I think he thought so many times I was being preachy and condescending.  That was not my intention at all.  I wanted him to be happy.  To have purpose.  I believe until you learn to enjoy doing for others even at great cost to yourself, you can never truly be happy.  As the quote says “what are we here for?”  What indeed?  If we do not interact with other human beings and more than just coexist, are we not just some terrible experiment gone wrong?  No matter what religion you call yourself a part of, if any, no matter what you believe about how and why humans exist, our humanity depends on our thoughtfulness.  Even if you don’t believe in anything, the fact of the matter is, how happy you are rarely depends on what others do for you or even what you do for yourself.  My contentment, happiness, peace, fulfillment, serenity wholly depends on my interaction with other people and how well I nurture my relationships.  Relationships, good ones, strong ones, aren’t happenstance.  They may start out serendipitously but they must be tended, cultivated, patched and treated as something of great value.  Protected even.  I guess what I am trying to say is a good, healthy relationship requires a lot of thought.

I have known both extraordinarily selfish people and extraordinarily thoughtful people.  Intentionally or not, they touched my life and helped me decide what kind of person I want to be.  That decision is one that evolves constantly.  As well it should. We will never handle every situation the way we should.  We will mess up.  We will hurt feelings.  We might even let our mean streak take over from time to time.   But it isn’t what happens to us, but how we handle what happens to us.  And we must always be mindful that how we react to these happenings almost never affects just us.  We should right wrongs whenever possible.  And remember forgiveness is for us not for the person we are forgiving.  And on the other hand, if you do your best to right a wrong and the offended person chooses not to forgive, then that is their burden to bear.  However, if we are thoughtful people, hopefully those times will be few and far between.

Circumstances change, people come in and go out of our lives, hardships and heartaches happen to all of us and hopefully we will all know, more than once in our lives, happiness and true bliss.  But if nothing else may we all be content.

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I agree with you – we can all use a little more Golden Rule and consideration. What else can we do but our best every single day? Good food for thought here.

Victoria

Thank you for such a thoughtful post. It is always nice to be reminded that it is in fact the “little” things which turn out not to be so “little” afterall that make a difference in our lives and the lives of others. I’m placing the George Eliot quote where I can read it first thing everyday. I’m loving the Thoughtful Thursday post and look forward to seeing more.

Susan…What a powerful and wise post… I feel women are by nature… kind and thoughtful… and each woman can and does make a huge difference by acts of kindness and thoughtfulness each day.

Thank you for writing this Susan… now lets all pay this forward!

Hugs and thoughtfulness
Victoria in Houston

Connie

“Thought-provoking” words. All of us need to be reminded of these truths. Great post!

A beautiful post Susan and certainly food for thought, no pun intended. I try hard to be a thoughtful person, and I know sometimes that despite my good intentions I am thoughtless without meaning to be. Hopefully as I grow and learn, the thoughtless moments will become few and far between, and maybe even disappear all together! (((hugs))))