“In the end, these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?” ~ Buddha
Photo: Moments to Remember, by Mark Keathley
I think a lot about what matters most in any given set of circumstances. I’ve found that there’s always a deeper connection and core foundation to every interaction, whether the relationship is interpersonal or symbiotic.
Often times, I believe we lose sight of this deep foundational connection throughout our day to day interactions; specifically with people.
Everyday, like clockwork, we wake up, get out of bed, get ready, go to work or school, get off of work, maybe go to the store, pick up some groceries, put some gas in the car, go home, eat some dinner, go to bed, etc….then do it all over again the next day. It’s often easy to get caught up in the routines of daily living. For most, throughout our routines of daily living, it is very likely that we will have to deal with people.
Let’s take a look at Christmas. Just this year, I observed family and friends rushing to decorate, scrambling to finish up last minute shopping, impatiently standing in long lines at the store, frantically wrapping gifts, toiling over dinner and dishes, all adding to their stress level and in the end, negatively impacting their interactions with their loved ones. This is an example of purpose defeating behavior. We should never defeat our entire purpose for doing anything. We need to remember the core reasons why we’re doing what it is we’re doing; and this is the deep foundational connection I am referring to.
We all tend to get caught up in the minutiae of life, we get lost in all of the small trivial details, forgetting about the person or people right in front of us. Often times, we even tend to not see people as people. We tend to see and treat people as a thing or obstacle to overcome. We view other human beings as customers, clients, numbers, credit scores, dollar signs, students, panhandlers, grades….etc.
We forget to be kind.
“Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.” ~ Immanuel Kant
As Kant states, people are an end in and of themselves. Human beings should never be treated as a means to an end.
At the end of the day, the relationship is what matters most in every circumstance. There’s plenty of research out there on what people say at the end of their lives. Most of the time, they wish they would have spent more time with loved ones and other people they cared about. They regret missing out on opportunities to be with the people they love. You don’t hear dying people say, “I wish I could have worked more.” or “I wish I could have made more money.” I write more on death in a previous article you can find here.
Spend time with the people you care about and the people that care about you. Treat every interaction with love and kindness. Don’t forget that they are human beings who want to be happy and avoid suffering, just as you do. Be present with your family and friends.
Try to be mindful of the connection to the deeper core foundation of every relationship and interaction. Remember, that’s a human being you’re talking to — with feelings, good times, bad times, hardships, etc. — let us not forget about what matters most.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” ~ Plato