After a long day of work, a mother and father sit down with their son for dinner. As part of dinner, the mom presents them with a basket full of freshly toasted bread. Well toasted. So well toasted you might say carbonized instead.
Now, the boy knows that his dad doesn’t like his toast this way, and says, « Hey, it’s all burned! » His father picks up a piece of the toast serenely and says « Exactly how I like it! » The boy, perplexed, drops the subject, but when it is time to say goodnight comes back to it « Daddy, why did you lie about the toast »?
His dad smiles wistfully then goes on to explain: « You know, sometimes words can be more harmful than actions. Your mother is just as tired as I am this evening, and as she was a bit off her game she let the toasts burn. I had a choice of harming her with my ‘truth’ or of lifting her spirits with a benign untruth .
Every day we have this terrible power to harm or to lift people up with our words. As you know, I particularly value honesty in life. But isn’t it a form of honesty to love mommy more than a stupid slice of toast? »
So when did you last embellish the truth for the people you love?
This simple question has significant implications for our start to the weekend! An egg done sunny side up is very different from a soft-boiled egg or scrambled eggs. The method of cooking will determine not just the taste, but also the texture of our eggs.
My decision is based on what I want, results-wise. Do I want them crunchy out of a frying pan or soft and liquid in its shell?
But there is more in play than just taste and texture. If I decide I do not want to clean a frying pan in the process, I accept that I won’t be able to get anything crunchy.
All of our decisions, large and small, are similar in a way. Our decisions along the way shape the results we get. If we chose the easy way out, the results will be shaped by that.
If we have a clear vision of the result we’d absolutely like to achieve, it’ll be self-explanatory what will need to be put in place in order to get there!
And you? What vision do you have in mind? What will it take to make that happen?
Recently, several people have thanked me for simply being in their lives. In each case I was surprised and a bit embarrassed to hear it, as I don’t have the impression that I am doing anything particulularly special for them. For one of them I am a coach, for the other a friend that listens and for the third I’m a matrimonial advisor. For all of them I’m a distributor of big hugs.
The common denominator of everything I do ? I thoroughly enjoy doing it ! I love the fact that somebody feels reassured because I listen without judging. I’m thrilled when someone takes off to new horizons thanks to my coaching. And – above all – I love offering big hugs to those in my life.
I don’t feel like any of this is a special effort, I am just being myself. I have stopped worrying about what others might think and simply follow my instinct. I hug people when I have the urge to do so, and I say « I love you » when feel it’s the right thing to do.
It’s a lovely paradox that when I am not trying to be anything special, and allow myself to simply be « just myself », I end up being very special for those in my life.
And you? When would it be helpful to follow your instinct, to be more of yourself – and therefore at your best?
Up until about 20 years ago I always put sugar in my coffee. Then, one day I noticed my manager grimacing, and asked why he was looking so disgusted. Apparently he had mistakenly had a sip of a coffee with sugar and he was not happy about it: « You can’t even taste the coffee with all that sweetness! » he complained.
Intrigued by his tirade, I decided to try my coffee without sugar. On day one I thought it was simply awful. On the second day I detected some new tastes that had previously been masked by the sugar. After a few days I realized that I was actually finally able to appreciate the coffee on its own merits. I’ve not looked back.
Recently, I finally did the same thing with tea.
Now, what applies to coffee and tea also applies to other things. Learning for instance. The first attempt at learning something new is often discouraging, and you are tempted to give up. The second time around it seems more attractive – but it’s still an effort. Only once you’ve given something a few tries do the benefits become truly clear, and then a new habit can start to form.
So, what have you given up lately that really deserved a second and third attempt?
First, a confession: I am a lousy dancer and I have always hated the idea that anyone might be watching on the rare occasions that I do get up to dance.
Once people have had enough to drink that they are wanting to get up and dance, I tend to disappear discreetly. No hard feelings, it is just not my thing.
But last weekend we celebrated the birthday of a friend. He had spent several weeks creating an absolutely irresistible playlist for the party, and it was so irresistible that I found myself – almost against my own will – cutting shapes on the dance floor.
After some initial trepidation, little by little I started to let go. After all – who cares what it looks like! I just closed my eyes and moved with the music … Fabulous! At least until I realized it was 4 am in the morning. WOW.
My thighs hurt a bit the next day, but it was definitely a new victory over the eternal block to enjoyment that is my inner dialogue around « what might people think? », which – in reality – is just a figment of my own imagination. The odd thing is that no one is actually watching us dance, if they are on the dance floor they are mostly worried about how they look. And those watching from the sidelines? Well, they are watching from the sidelines, God bless them.
And you? On which dance floor would you like to get up and express yourself?