“Just be yourself and everything will be fine.”
These words of wisdom have been passed from countless parents to their children at the beginning of every momentous childhood event: the first day of school, summer camp, a new neighborhood, leaving for college, starting a career job.
Artist Nicholas Simmons’ watercolor, “After all the violence and double-talk”
Yet somehow we keep forgetting the message.
We listen to criticism inflicted by others and by our own inner critic and we respond by trying to be who we are not. We seek to alter our authentic selves and to silence our critics by hiding behind costumes of clothes and sets replete with cars and houses. We eat in the right restaurants, go to the right cultural events, support the right charities, cheer for the right teams. In listening to the critics, we lose the joy of living our own life. Continue reading
Years ago, when some project or client interaction had not gone as well as expected, the head of our division where I worked at the time would initiate a fact-finding conversation with us by asking, “So, what happened?”
All we need to do is ask a few questions, and like releasing the clutch on a music box, the words will flow.
Then he would sit back and listen carefully, nodding his head to show he understood, and asking a few more questions, until it seemed we had each played out our full opinion. Only then would he speak about what he wanted done next.
It’s an approach that I came to admire and to adopt. Continue reading
We’ve been talking at work this week about our plans for Valentine’s Day.
Whether you’re a hopeful, or hopeless, romantic, trust in your heart and hold what is dear to you safely within it.
I love the variety of answers, from a decades-long tradition of a dinner this night at the same restaurant that includes the children – ‘they are my Valentines too!’ – to an even longer tradition of always some new way to celebrate, to attending a sporting event together, to romantic celebrations that continue into the weekend, to ‘we just hope to get all the kids to bed at a decent hour.’
Whether like my work mates you are in a perfect-enough relationship, or exploring a new one, nursing wounds from one recently ended, grieving the loss of the love of your life, working through the pain of a divorce, juggling an undisclosed threesome, or frustrated by your singleness, today, make time for the one most important thing. Continue reading