LAW OF ATTRACTION: Like humans, nices ones get all the attention and in that lies much wisdom while ‘He who tries to please everybody pleases nobody and often is the most lonely person’
I USED to keep birds in cages but not anymore. Now I am learning to feed wild birds instead.
There is a great array of wild bird feed to choose from, ranging from seeds to nuts to suet balls. On top of that there are all sorts of bird feeders. There are wood feeders, tube feeders and platform feeders.
Apparently different birds will root for different feed and different feeders as well.
So we bought three types of feeders and three types of feed and it was rather spectacular to watch a great array of birds flock to them: finches and tits included.
However, the joy was short-lived when big ugly black birds discovered the feeders and, by crowding over the feeders incessantly, they practically shoved and ousted the smaller birds who were there first.
Imagine my ire watching such bullying take place.
I concluded that this is basically the law of attraction. Free delicious bird seed will attract birds of whatever kind.
Just like humans, it is not unusual to see the nice ones attracting loads of friends and the emphatic ones attracting loads of people who feel comfortable confiding in them. But unfortunately, sometimes the "wrong" people are attracted too, for example people who take advantage of others, people who are sycophants, people who need human crutches and people who wallow in self pity.
This is where I believe wisdom comes in, where we do not let others misuse and abuse our niceness and hurt ourselves and our families in the wake.
There is an often quoted proverb which states that you can please some of the people, some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people, all of the time.
This probably originated about 2,500 years ago where the famous Greek slave Aesop illustrated this gem in his fable The Miller, the Son, and the Donkey.
The story is about a miller and his son who were driving their donkey to the market. First they met some girls who thought they were fools because they were not riding the donkey. So the father lifted his son onto the donkey and walked along by his side.
Next they met an old man who accused the son of not respecting his father and letting him walk. So red-faced with shame, the son got down and his father got onto the donkey's back.
Then they met a group of young men who thought both the father and son should ride the donkey.
So the father lifted his son up, and the two of them rode along.
Finally they were stopped by a townsman who accused them of animal cruelty and the miller and his son got off the donkey, tied his legs together, slung him on a pole, and carried him on their shoulders.
When other passers-by saw this spectacle, they laughed so loudly that the donkey was frightened, broke free from the cords, fell off the pole into a river and drowned.
The moral of this story is, "He who tries to please everybody pleases nobody and often is the most lonely person."
Strange but true. It is an age-old maxim that our greatest strength is also our greatest weakness and we will fail if we do not expand.
It is said that it does not take long for a one string banjo to irritate any listener.
You will reach higher by adding a few strings to your instrument.
If I am a great talker, I talk too much. Therefore, I should listen more.
If I am great at encouraging, people would walk all over me. Therefore, I should confront more.
What I consciously discipline myself is to have a mind to do the right thing. That is about the most difficult task.
To do the right thing is certainly to annoy some and please some.
To do the right thing may bring about bad blood.
To do the right thing maybe to say "No", to end an unhealthy friendship, to let the person go and learn to fish, to tell the person that he should seek help and you are not the right person to do it and to do the right thing is listen to the heartbeat and anxiety of the person closest to you and act on it.
But above all it is worth it because to do the right thing is to have the ability to draw boundaries, to stand up for principles and people who are most important in your life, to risk having people and the whole town think "badly" of you, to be stripped of all self pride by acknowledging that you may not be the answer to another's woes and, most of all, to be able to let others go and find strength in themselves.
So back to the birds that are a nuisance. I think I will go take up shooting lessons and learn to load, point and aim.