Remember those teacher comments on your elementary school report cards? Your parents loved to see “a pleasure to have in class” but that is an individual accolade. “Plays well with others” shows you know how to interact with others which is a super important skill to have. We live with all sorts of people who land somewhere on the continuum of being able to easily interact with people to those who more closely resemble Homer Simpson falling down a hill. (Duh!, ugh! doh!)
“We are only successful if those around us are successful,” rings true in so many arenas, especially the work world, yet some folks have a hard time embracing it. Lately I’ve be made aware and reminded of some women who don’t want to share people as friends or celebrate when a peer succeeds. I’ve been known to not talk about an accomplishment with certain women because they’re more likely to be miffed or fake-happy than to give me a hearty congratulations. Other women make their poor friends “choose” between them and another friend when that friend offends them. Seriously? Are our hearts not wide enough, our lives not full enough, our selves not confident enough to take joy in someone else? This grieves me.
How do we define success? Is it only what we accomplish? Is it about our bank account? A truly grounded person might be more inclined to point at a mature, self-less individual who lives to lift up another. Those that are worried about making sure others know how great they are might be missing more than they realize. Personally, someone who wants to hog the limelight is the least attractive in the room. I’m drawn to the person who is interested in others, who asks good questions and genuinely listens to the answers; someone who might have a lovely resume but instead demonstrates qualities of concern and care for others.
And yet today, we’re awfully interested in ourselves. I’m no different, most days, but I’m striving. My good friend says it like this: I think it starts by cultivating a life focused wrongly on self. It’s the Me Show starring ME. We have forgotten how to celebrate with our neighbor who is going to Disney Land because we’re sad that our vacation’s highlight is a trip to the library. No fair! We don’t get out the poppers and bake a cake for one another enough because it’s all about us. We need to learn how to be glad for each other while still rejoicing in the way God enriched our life.
My husband likes to end the day with a question for himself, “Have I blessed anyone today?” This question alone allows for a stance of selflessness. Each day, he’s looking for small ways to bless other people and every day, whether he realizes it or not, he does. A full, rich and successful life is not the ME show. Rather, it’s a life lived with such gratitude and others’ focus that we can celebrate with others as God blesses us each in the way He’s pre-ordained. I would say that that being concerned about blessing others and celebrating them is one of the most loving way to play well with others.