Life is both short and long depending on how we perceive it and many people will tell you it does not matter how long you live your life but what matters is how you live it. While that is a great sentiment to talk about and advise others to do, it is easier said than done. For a person to live a life that is anywhere near being worthy, it is important for that person to know himself or herself. When a person reads this, the first reaction he or she may have is that of course, they know themselves. What is there not to know? After all a human is closest to himself or herself having spent a lot of time in his or her own company so to speak.
However, you would be stunned to know that most humans do not have any idea about their own self. Even if they think they do, it is often a reflection of what they wish they were. We know this sentence is not only difficult to understand but also difficult to accept. That is we will explain what we mean by telling you a small story.
James was a wealthy man in his late forties. He was smart, sharp and most importantly a self-made man. While not exactly handsome, his wealth, confidence and penchant for fitness made him an attractive man. James was married to Debra and had been for the past 21 years having met her during his college days. They had two children; a girl, Miriam and a boy, Mark, aged 17 and 15 years respectively.
James had a busy life confident in the belief that his wife and children were aware of how much he loved them. Though he was not able to spend much time with them, he was generous with his money and indulged them by letting them buy whatever they wanted to buy. As a result, Debra, his wife enjoyed the latest in clothes, jewelry, cars, and phones, as did his children.
He always felt that one fine day, when he retired from his business, he would spend time with his wife and take a world tour as she always wanted to. The children could either take over his business or go their own way. That is why it was a shock to him when he was served a divorce notice by his wife’s attorney. He thought Debra loved him and understood his need to spend so much time and attention on his business.
When he confronted Debra, asking her if it was a joke and was even more shocked when she confirmed that it was no joke and she was serious about getting a divorce. Reeling in shock, he turned to his children hoping they would support him and was shocked when they too sided with their mom. He even asked Debra if there was someone else, to which she told him that since she had decided to dissolve the marriage, it was none of his business.
James was reeling with shock at the antagonism that he was facing from his family. He decided to turn to his parents for support but was even more shocked to realize that they not only knew about Debra filing for a divorce, but also did not seem to oppose it. This was the final blow and James was at a wit’s end. He was stunned with the way everyone was behaving especially considering how hard he had to work to provide for all of them.
He decided to take control of the situation and asked his family to tell him what had gone wrong. He was stunned at what they said and how he had thought of it.
His wife felt that he was trying to buy her affection by letting her spend as much as money she wanted while all she wanted was a bit of attention occasionally. James was stunned to hear this as he equated endless charge accounts as a sign of his affection.
His children told him that they missed having the roughhousing, disciplining, and the presence of a dad to cheer them when they needed it. They said they would have felt like rich orphans if not for their mother’s and grandparents’ presence in their life. James had always believed that his allowing them to have the best of everything was his way of showing his love for them.
His parents told him that while they enjoyed the flat he bought them and the allowance he gave them, they would have liked him to visit more often and if he had spent more time with his family.
From the above story, it would have become obvious to you that James did not know himself or his family. He simply assumed that he was an affectionate man while he did not know that he came across as a cold and ruthless man. He was not only going to have to learn why having healthy family relationships is so important but also how to do it. The first step to that would be to have a better understanding his own self and working on ensuring that others understood it to.