Do It Anyway

#acceptance #mindfulness #resilience #selfcare Apr 02, 2022

Can you think of someone in your life who has no flaws? Someone who acts and thinks exactly as you want them to?

There’s probably no one. Your spouse, your parents, your children—they have imperfections. And yet, you get to love them anyway.

When you love people anyway no matter how they show up in your life, guess who benefits the most? You do.

In this post, let’s dive deeper into being intentional about accepting people and loving them for who they are, and in turn, you get to feel that love.

 

The Paradoxical Commandments

 

The Paradoxical Commandments are inspirational words written by Kent Keith back in the 1960s. 

He put them together in a book called “Anyway” but the words took a life of their own as many leaders and personalities used them in their office memos, bumper stickers, advice columns, websites, etc.

A lot of people know these paradoxical commandments to be from Mother Teresa’s words because they were posted on the wall of her children’s home in Calcutta. 

But it was Dr. Keith who wrote them to encourage people to do what’s right in the face of adversity, find deep happiness, get past excuses, find personal meaning, and make a difference in the world around them.

Let me just share these paradoxical commandments quickly with you:

  1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
  2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
  3.  If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
  4.  The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
  5.  Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
  6.  The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
  7.  People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
  8.  What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
  9.  People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
  10.  Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

I don't know if this impacted you the way it impacted me the first time I came across these paradoxical commandments almost 15 years ago. I really love every single one of them, but I want to highlight the first one in this post. 

 

Our Job Is Not To Change People

 

Again, the first commandment says, “People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.”

If I had to say, one of the most powerful things that really changed me when I worked with a life coach was the idea that our job is not to change people. 

When you get married, people did not marry you so that they can be improved by you. 

They’re just the way they are. They can be perfectly imperfect just like you are perfectly imperfect… and you get to love them anyway. 

We have this preconceived notion that people have to think and behave a certain way. Even at work, people need to appreciate and recognize us. At home, your spouse needs to appreciate you and not take you for granted. 

And you know, I think these are rules that we've created in our brain.

No one is supposed to show up a certain way for you. 

The same goes for you. It’s your decision to be the type of person that you are.

People get to be who they are. You can’t expect them to be a certain way so that you feel more appreciated and satisfied.

Because at the end of the day, people are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.

I'm going to say this one more time because this is very profound—people are illogical. 

So don't try to think that it's not logical that somebody behaves that way. Yeah, it's not. Because guess what? People get to be logical. 

And when you get frustrated with the way something is handled and you say so and so is unreasonable, guess what? They get to be unreasonable. 

We live in a society where it's every person for themselves. People always want to keep their own priorities and what makes their life easy. 

Even at work, some people tend to dump their work on you because they're self-centered. Guess what? They get to be self-centered. 

And you get to love them. You get to love all of it.

 

You Feel the Love and You Feel Better

 

As I'm saying this to you, I know you're experiencing a lot of resistance.

What are you talking about, Faryal? I don't want to love an illogical person. I don't want to love an unreasonable person. I don't want to love a self-centered person. 

Some of you will tell me love is a strong word and that the best you can do is like them. You might say the best you can do is not hate them. 

But what I want to offer you is that when you love illogical people, unreasonable people, and self-centered people, guess who experiences that love? You Do. You’re the one who feels better.

It's such a superpower. People will behave in their most self-centered, illogical, and unreasonable way in your life. They show up as themselves in your life… and you get to love them. 

You get to experience love, and you get to experience that love regardless of what version of them just got out of bed this morning. 

It's not easy. I’m not trying to minimize your experience if you’re in a situation that isn’t ideal. 

But what I'm telling you is if you believe that inherently, people get to be illogical, you are illogical. People get to be unreasonable. You are unreasonable. People get to be self-centered. You are self-centered. 

If you get to believe that premise and not play judge and jury and try to hope people show up a better version of them so you feel better, then you’re making your experience of life conditional. You’re going to make the love you're going to feel every day conditional.

 

Be Intentional

 

Look at your life and take every opportunity to tell a narrative in your life that serves you and makes you feel good and intentional.

Here’s a little exercise.

I want you to think about all the people in your life that right now are causing you sadness and pain. Write down on a piece of paper all the ways that they're illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.

Then look at all that and say, of course, they’re like this. Guess what? They get to be that person. They get to be illogical. People get to be unreasonable and self-centered. 

You get to love them anyway.

I can tell you that this type of thinking and teachings have profoundly changed who I am and how I show up in my life for me, my family, and my friends. 

My own life experience is different because of it, and I hope this was helpful to you too.

Do you want to work with me as a coach?

As a palliative care physician, let me offer you the gift of perspective. As a mindfulness teacher, let me offer you the  acceptance of what your life is offering you today. As a certified life coach, let me share with you the tools to learn to live your best life starting today.

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