Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Give Yourself Brownie Points

I remember as a child I was in Brownie Scouts. I received Brownie Points for a job well done. That always felt wonderful to be rewarded for something nice I did for someone else. I carried those same expectations into adulthood. If I do something nice, I kind of look for the Brownie point that’s suppose to come from doing good deeds.

Often this way of thinking leads to discouragement because people will let us down. They either aren’t appreciative of what we’ve done, or they don’t have the means to give back and on and on. When disappointment shows its ugly head, apathy settles in and it’s easy to say, “Well, fine! If your not going to scratch my back, I’m not gonna scratch yours either!” In the end, we figure out that this giving business without getting anything in return is for the birds

One strategy that I use to pulverize disappointment is to do things for others because it’s what “I” want to do for them and not because I’m doing it to win Brownie points. “I” want to rub my husband's feet, “I” want to make my son’s bed for him, “I” want to be a listening ear for a friend, “I” want to share my daughter’s burden

In my journal I write down an “if-then” Brownie point for myself. “If” I give without expecting anything in return (I usually write down a very specific scenario) “then” I can have a quiet night at home with a cup of tea, or a therapeutic massage, or a good book, or a date night with my husband, or whatever pat on the back I choose to give myself. Remember, the Bible didn’t say to love your neighbor and neglect yourself. But, rather to “love your neighbor (AS) yourself.” God uses these rewards to replenish and prepare us for the next time He needs us to uplift the life of another.

This technique seems very self-centered because there are a lot of “me” and “I” and gift giving to “me” going on here. In actuality, this works just the opposite of what one might expect because our expectations of others dissipates, the giving is enjoyable and fulfilling, and those who have nothing left to give don’t have to feel the burden of repayment.

Give this a try you won’t be “disappointed!”


1 comment:

Scott said...

I have learned over the years that being "selfish" is not wrong; it is "self-centered" that leads to the problems. Selfish is when you are concerned about yourself: how you feel, how you will cope, etc... Self-centered is when the world must revolve around you. I have a lot of people in my world; I enjoy that. The thing is that, for the longest time, I wasn't "selfish", but my world was more centered on me because I was dealing with a lot of problems. Those problems were answered (at least, a lot of them) by others, by me being selfish and not self-centered. Do things for yourself (yes, Marisa, you have the idea) and do things for others for reasons that can reward you, too. I hope people can start to see the difference between the two terms. If you aren't a little selfish, who will be for you? You can still love others and love yourself, but if you don't love yourself, it is very hard to love others.