Life is an echo.
What you send out, comes back.
What you sow, you reap.
What you give, you get.
What you see in others, exists in you.”
Zig Ziglar

Recently a friend of mine posted a graphic with the above Zig Ziglar quote onto a social media page of mine. It immediately resonated with me and I told her so. Another friend, who I know quite well (we’ll call him Sam), posted a one word question, “When????”

It got me thinking about the differences between Sam and me. The conditions of our lives aren’t terribly different:
neither of us is homeless,
we have people of our own choosing around us,
we are working a lot of hours and struggling to make the ends meet,
we are both raising teenagers, and so on…

…yet I can see the truth in this statement and he cannot.

I suspect the difference between us is that Sam is looking at his actions (external conditions) and not his heart (internal conditions) when he considers whether or not he’s getting his just desserts.

I meet people all the time who feel as though they’re doing the right thing yet inside they’re resentful because doing the right thing feels like it is at the expense of something else they’d rather do (like yell, accuse or teach that person a lesson). These people struggle with the truth of their reflection because they do not feel as though they’re getting what they’re giving – but how can they feel that they are receiving anything worthwhile without the practice of studying what IS working in their lives? And if they’re holding resentment and hurt in their hearts isn’t that what they’re really sending out (and getting back), sowing (and reaping), giving (and getting)?

The elements that lie within our hearts become the lens through which we evaluate life. If our heart is cold we see cold everywhere, even where there is warmth. When our heart is warm we see warmth, even where there is cold.

We cannot expect to reap our heart’s desires when we sow our body’s whims. Holding onto anger, hurt and resentment while trying to behave with kindness and understanding is incongruous and cannot bring to us the rewards we hope for. Not only that but it makes being kind difficult and tiring, therefore unsustainable.

I feel the truth of Ziglar’s observation because I have made it my practice to be grateful.

What I send out, comes back.
I am constantly thinking grateful thoughts. How much I love the mountain view on my morning drive (with my thoughts on that view how can I possibly be annoyed at traffic?). How much I appreciate my kids and their contribution to my life (there’s no room for long-term hurts when my time is spent counting the ways they give to me). I even think how appreciative I am for the struggle I’m going through because I know, in my heart of hearts, that I am growing stronger and more resilient all the time.
What I sow, I reap.
Every time I verbalize my gratitude someone hears it and echoes it back to me….which gives me even more to be grateful for.
What I give, I get.
When I give other people patience, money, time – whether they acknowledge it or not – I am also grateful for the opportunity to virtues that are important to me so I immediately get what I’ve given (even if only from myself).
Of course, I acknowledge the gifts I receive from others. Whether it’s patience, kindness, money, time or energy I not only say, “thank you,” I tell them exactly how their contribution helped me. In return, I hear that in receiving their gift I have given them the opportunity to help and the cycle continues.
What I see in others, exists in me.
I see kindness, generosity and compassion where it exists in others. There are times when other people do not treat me kindly and when that happens I see fallibility, fatigue and hurt. Ultimately, I see humanness in others. That is all. Without a doubt that is all I am is human….sometimes treating others well and sometimes not.

After reflection on the topic, I feel I have an answer to the question Sam posed, “When????” My answer is NOW. If you’re like Sam and you’re looking at your actions and not your heart as your contributions to the world then you might also feel as though you’re doing right by others when they’re not doing right by you. If that is the case, I encourage you to practice gratitude. If you cannot be grateful for big things yet start small as suggested by this article. When we fill our hearts with gratitude there simply is no room for resentment and the actions of doing “right” take care of themselves.

What are you grateful for in this moment?