I’ve seen it in many cases throughout the years that once a couple separates; they become parent of the year, a fitness guru, or a financial planning genius. It is often perceived by the other person to be all for show or even for spite. I hear frequently that a parent is only attending the child’s sporting events, or volunteering at the school to make every one think they are this really great parent. I also have clients tell me that the other person only hit the gym to make them jealous, or exclaim disgust because the spending habits that were a huge problem in the marriage are under control now that the marriage is over. My clients feel it to be a direct jab at them for the other person to be finally doing what they had wanted for so long. Let’s be honest- Sometimes it absolutely is.
I must ask however, why does that matter? I realize its irritating. I understand why it’s irritating. I’m pointing out that it’s not bad. If a person betters them-self, whether for a moment or a lifetime, it’s not bad. There is good available there.
When I drove by the courthouse last week there was a lot of snow on the sidewalk and the man with the hot dog stand was shoveling the walk. Obviously he wants to keep access to his hot dog stand available. So is he selfish? His motive may be, or maybe not. Maybe even if he didn’t have a hot dog stand he would have been out there shoveling the sidewalk in front of the courthouse, but I doubt it. Many people benefited from his act of selfish kindness. We also see it when there’s a national tragedy. I sure hugged my kids tighter in the days before Christmas this year, and I know most every parent did. Did we love our children less on December 13, 2012 than we did in the days after? I doubt it. But I am certain that many families loved stronger the remaining days in 2012 and that was a positive reaction.
What I am trying to remind us all of is that positive outcomes can be derived from quite selfish motives. If we begin acting like a more loving parent, a healthy eater, and a better financial planner- some of it will accidentally stick. While your likely to wish this desirable behavior was occurring already; not much is gained by being angry that is exists now. What’s worse, your spending energy in the opposite direction of moving on.
Its okay to be unimpressed. You don’t need to give bonus points for someone finally doing what they should have been doing all ready, or for helping others with a self serving motive. But let them do it. You don’t benefit enough from disliking the positive behavior to make it worth your time.
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