Joan looked gratefully out of the window of her 12th floor office and silently gave thanks all over again as she pondered on the path that had brought her here. She never would have predicted that in a hundred years, she’d be working in this organisation where so many people desired to work.
Her outlook to life had not always been like this. She remembered her days of ignorance and how she used to fear that people would use her until she learnt the biggest positive lesson of her life.
Joan had grown up watching her parents invest in people’s lives, especially in the area of educational empowerment. Many people had benefited from their benevolence as her parents’ business had a specific objective to lift others out of poverty. This went on for more than a decade until a particular government policy caused her parents to shut down the business and that was the beginning of trouble.
Her parents had been so focused on others and trusted that the people they had trained would support them in the future. As a result of this, they had little or no savings or a backup plan. Joan had watched these so-called ‘trusted’ people turn their backs on her parents who became heartbroken and bitter. Within a few years of this, her parents had passed on within a few months of each.
She decided that she wasn’t going to make her parents’ mistake so all her relationships were structured to be transactional. If there was no apparent benefit in giving or helping anybody, you could count her out as she wasn’t ready to be taken for a ride. As a result, her relationships were shallow and unfulfilling. She sometimes wished she could really have some people in her life that she could just let down her guard and be free with, but whenever she remembered her parents’ experience, she drew back. People simply could not be trusted.
About a year ago, she stumbled on an Instagram post that made her rethink her stance. The post talked about childhood trauma and how many people’s current lives were being affected by their past negative experiences, or that of their loved ones. Did this not apply to her? Could it be that her parents’ experiences had affected her that much? As if that was not enough, she started following another person who often talked about how where you sow is not where you reap but what you sow is what you reap.
Joan decided to analyse her parents’ situation. Apparently, they had expected returns from the very people they had invested in, rather than expecting the same measure of good or more from any channel possible. This would have put their minds in a good, expectant and positive place and with that clarity of mind, they may have found options to their bankrupt situation rather than waiting on people.
She realised that there actually was nothing wrong with being kind and liberal, so long as we did not expect the same people to pay us back in the same coin. The good we did would always come back to us in ways we didn’t expect. With this new understanding, Joan opened up her mind and became more generous and receptive. It made her relationships much easier because there was no risk of ‘beefing’ others for not being good to her after everything she had done for them. It was a new, liberating and joyful way to live, and she could be sincere with others when she could not do what they wanted her to do for them.
Shortly after this, she had met Lade who had moved newly to the town and needed a place to stay until she found a place of her own. She accommodated her for two weeks without any idea that Lade’s mother was the corporate affairs manager at her dream organisation, and she’d been offered a position which she gladly jumped at. She wished her parents had learnt this lesson earlier, maybe it would have prolonged their days. As for her, she had made up her mind to live by this principle forever.