“The only ‘no’ in my vocabulary begins with k.” My friend, Joann, got this response when she asked for help. I loved it! The person she asked for help, went on to say, “Just let me know what you need.”
Okay, well, I admit it is not a good philosophy for those of us who have a problem setting boundaries, or for those of us who hang out with sociopaths, or, for those of us who are already in trouble with authorities for saying yes too much, but for those of us who tend to say “no” too quickly, or need to learn generosity, what a concept!
I am just now beginning to see myself through the eyes of those close to me; just now beginning to see how I…
- overreact to certain circumstances
- bristle up unnecessarily with anger
- get my feelings hurt by taking comments too personally
I didn’t know I was overreacting or being too sensitive and argued with anyone who attempted to convince me. But, by recently becoming more aware of, and more healthily detached from, my (mostly useless) self-preservation tactics, my assessment has changed.
I sure could have saved myself a lot of trouble.
My favorite over-reaction video of all time is a mom getting ready for company. For a good laugh…
This minion’s opinion of taking advice from people was mine for many years. I thought they were wrong, I was right, and I was frickin’ proud of my who-asked-you attitude.
Yet, stubbornness came with a price-tag. Not that I believe I should have listened to everyone. Some of the time I was darn right to be stubborn! (Let’s see, what is that percentage? If I take the number of times other people were right and divide it by the number of times I was right…well…okay…whatever…)
Anyway, for a sanity check, now I consider other stubborn people I know, and how much better their lives could be if they were only willing to see themselves from an outside perspective. That calculation gives me incentive to listen up.
Harsh but sometimes we ask for it. We screw up. We miss all the cues. We listen to the wrong people. We act selfishly. We throw caution and our future to the wind. We indulge. We go against reason.
On those occasions, we do ourselves a big favor by owning it sans excuses.
Some of the biggest falls I have taken in my life have been associated with ignoring the following important facts:
- What I think people think about me and what people actually think about me are generally two different things.
- What people say to me is not usually what people say about me (especially when I am their boss, family member, or competitor).
- Who I think really agrees with me and who really agrees with me are far from the same.
To avoid a rude slap in the face from reality, I must…
- find my security from within vs. from without
- remember that we humans, in order to avoid conflict, often say and do what is expedient vs. what is completely honest
- work daily on an inner life (based on awareness vs. illusion)
- solicit, accept, and reward honest feedback from peers, employees, and family
Tom Wolfe’s new book, The Kingdom of Speech, is so intriguing and entertaining that I missed a dozen turns while listening to the audio in my car. Never would I have imagined being so captivated by the history of scientific research on the subject of speech acquisition! Yet, wow, what a journey Wolfe took me on, dicing up historical legends and institutions, serving them up with scathing humor, and alerting me to the marvel of speech and mankind’s embarrassing inability to define it.
Again, I am moved by what I don’t know…and haven’t even thought about knowing. I hope it will remind me today to be more…
- humble when I am tempted to think I am hot stuff
- aggressive in using my free time to learn (instead of veg)
- respectful of all fields of knowledge and their impact upon us all
In the movie Blast from the Past, Brenden Frazer’s character comes out of the bunker he has lived in for thirty years and just stares with awe at the sky. Everyone around thinks he’s crazy…except a small child.
I included the link, just in case you need a laugh and want to feel marvelous.
In this blog, I try not to waste your time with platitudes about gratitude. But, I wouldn’t mind if you felt just a little guilt after reading the following quote by a blind/deaf/mute woman:
Do an inventory. Get real.
Make other people feel marvelous.
The Thanksgiving episode of This Is Us is a good example why the new US television series has been successful. This Is Us is us, down to the stinking sibling rivalry, parenting screw-ups, and the long-term effects of home-bred insecurities (unsavory stuff that most of us deny or cover up until home-for-the-holidays becomes a full-scale excavation site).
The episode reminded me of arriving at the in-laws one year and turning to ask the kids to be on their best behavior.
Hoping they would remember that their grandfather had been recently ill, I asked, “Why do you think being on your best behavior would be important?” My son responded quickly, “Because Mamma and Grandad won’t like us if they know who we really are.”
An honest response that revealed the deeper, and darker, state of things.
My friend was in a difficult position. She would have to bring up toilet-hygiene to her older brother who was a temporary houseguest. Day after day, she and her husband had been frustrated by the small puddles left in front of the toilet. It certainly wasn’t her, or her clean-freak husband. There was no other explanation.
Until, she caught the baby possums in the act.
Living behind the dryer in her laundry room, stowaway possums were apparently making trips to the bathroom and, inadvertently, framing her brother.
At times, even rationality must bow to absurdity!
Innocent until proven guilty, right?
Innocents and incidents (as these) remind us
Mystery and irony can still surprise us