It is funny that Edge Life is wondering this month what it means to live with no hidden agendas. Just the other day, I wrote this down: "It’s too bad that so many only see opportunity for their own ambitions when they look at someone." This short phrase nuzzled itself up to me as I thought about an incident involving someone who I thought of, or at least who I wanted, as a friend.
Melissa (not her real name) and I met her at the park when I was there playing with my daughter. She was there with her daughter, who was about the same age as mine. She very openly approached me and started talking. Eventually, she asked me if we could go have lunch. I immediately said yes, thinking that maybe this was the day I would finally have that friend I yearned for – you know, the one who I could call at anytime day or night, and she would listen and understand and even share my tears and laughter. Yes, she would be the one.
We remained friends for a while, but nothing near what I had hoped, so I let it go. Until one day, I remembered she expressed interest in a couch of mine. She said, "If you ever sell that couch, let me know." Well, I was thinking about selling the couch. We were moving and I knew it just wouldn’t fit in our new home. I called her up and left a message. Months went by and I never heard a word. Then, out of the blue, she called and said she has been trying to get in touch with me since I called last month. Funny, I thought. It was more like three months, but anyway, she said she wanted to get together. She never mentioned the couch – and neither did I.
It turns out she was with a direct sales company, and according to her, I was one of the first few people she thought of who would love the doing the business. Being the "nice" person that I am, I didn’t tell her what I really thought, that I am trying to change women’s lives in a much deeper way – but that is beside the point. We made plans for her to come over, and she said we would only talk about the business if I wanted her to. I didn’t say anything one way or the other and gave her the benefit of the doubt that our meeting was really about us, and not her business.
When she arrived at my home, she was very matter of fact, saying; "Now, since the kids are playing, should we go over the business plan now, or should we eat first?"
As my happy bubble burst, I told her, "Let’s have lunch first."
Needless to say, we had lunch and then she assembled all of her products on my kitchen table and walked me through a facial and manicure. It all felt very nice, of course, but all I could do is wonder why I seemed to attract people who only seem interested in people when that interest serves them.
Of course, I could be completely wrong about this entire incident. Perhaps she really did just want to spend quality time with me, but I don’t think so. I did tell her I was interested in one of her products, but wasn’t looking for a career with the company. She left my house as much in a hurry as she came, completely forgetting to write up my order – and before she left, she said, "Oops, I forgot to give you a hug." I know that I have grown, because although this incident disrupted my energy for the day, it didn’t interrupt my integrity as a person.
Maya Angelou says when people show you who they are, believe them. And I believed her. She showed me that she was only interested in what I could do for her. She wasn’t really interested in the fact that in the past two years I have struggled in my marriage, my life and in my finances. She wasn’t really interested that all I wanted was a simple cosmetic item. And you know what, that is okay. And from here on out, it is always going to be okay.
People are not going to be who I want them to be, but I can be what I want me to be. That’s the lesson. What I want is for people to put people first. What I want is for people to pay attention to their lives and the resources that are within them, and use those and not other people. What I want is for people to remain true to their highest selves in a world that often only seems to disappoint and frustrate. I believe that with every untrue person I meet, I get closer to what it is I want.
In closing, I must say that Melissa – and anyone like her – is not a bad person. She is just caught up in the disease that mishandles so many of us, the disease of unrealistic expectations, artificiality and massive control. This isn’t what I want anymore. Do you?