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My mom always told us, “Girls, when you get married, make sure it’s to a man who can say he’s sorry.”

That’s not to say she wanted us with complete screwups who were constantly apologizing for things, but there was a lot of veiled wisdom hidden in her words. Okay fine, maybe it wasn’t that veiled. The point is that “sorry” is a very powerful word.

When it comes to the business world, and actually almost any area of life, you’ll find that people don’t say ‘sorry’ for a couple reasons.

The first is that it admits fault, which a person who is trying to exert power can never admit. It doesn’t matter if it’s a boss, sister, partner, or child, when someone knows they are wrong, but says ‘sorry’ in every other way except actually saying the word ‘sorry’ (or ‘I apologize’) it’s because they don’t want to admit weakness, which in itself is a weakness.

The second thing that happens when a person won’t apologize is that by omitting weakness, it makes them feel more powerful. An intuitive person can see right through this and realize it for what it is: weakness masquerading as power.

However, I have found that in most instances when an apology is deemed necessary, it actually isn’t. A LOT of the time, friction is caused by a breakdown in communication, in which case no one is at fault, and no one needs to exert power, therefore belittling the other person.

For example, you and your partner are having dinner at home later. You tell he/she to pick up some butter. Well, your recipe for chocolate chip cookies called for unsalted butter and he/she brought salted butter. You’re not sure how this happened because you assumed EVERYONE knew that unsalted butter was what the recipe called for (duh!), and your partner literally just found out that there are two different types of butter.

Should you apologize because you didn’t specify? Or should he/she apologize for not knowing any better, or not asking?

No. No one owes anyone an apology. It’s just a breakdown in communication, and can be used as a moment to learn how to communicate better with each other, not to try and break each other down.

And in the end, your cookies may be a little saltier than you’d planned, but who cares?! You’re eating freshly baked chocolate chip cookies!

“Sorry” is definitely a powerful word, and because of that, we need to really ask ourselves when it’s a necessary one to use. Do you need an apology, or a better understanding of the situation moving forward?

It’s so amusing to me how the littlest thing, as well as the big ones, can get to us in ways that nothing else can.

An email that had an unfriendly tone; someone who cut you off on the freeway; a co-worker who walked past you and didn’t say hello; burnt toast.

Any of these things can throw off your day in unimaginable ways, and somehow, it’s our job to make sure that they don’t. But how is that even possible?!

Here’s this email, sitting in my inbox, waiting to be answered, and I’m SO annoyed! Or saying to myself, “When I see that co-worker at lunch, I’m not even going to say anything to him!” Then, you sit, stewing over the email and the rude coworker, which is only being made worse by the fact that you can still taste the burnt toast in your mouth and that you were five minutes late for work because of that asshole driver that cut you off.

Ever experienced any of these?

Again, I’m not a psychologist, but I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking, and I’ve realized something… I just don’t care anymore and I’m happier for it.

That annoyed email: How do I know something traumatic isn’t happening in the writer’s life? I don’t. But even if the writer’s life is peachy keen, I still shouldn’t let the tone affect me. It’s about what to bring to the office potluck for crying out loud, not insulting the way I make potato salad.

The bad driver: For all I know, the driver had a loved one in the hospital, or was going to get fired if he was late one more time. I can’t let someone else’s actions affect my reactions because it doesn’t actually matter to me.

The rude coworker: Hey, that person has to live with himself every day, and it takes a special kind of person to not say “Hello” back to someone who addressed them. Special in a not so positive way. But again, why does it matter to me? I felt like saying “Hello.” I shouldn’t expect anything back, because courtesy is just that. And if I’m not shown courtesy, it’s time to move along.

Here’s a real life example: I was walking through the McDonald’s parking lot one day, when two men passed me. One yelled, “Someone looks nice today.” I was in a hurry, and barely even registered that he was talking to me, and kept walking. So, he yells back much louder, “Hey bitch, when someone says something, you can at least say thanks.”

While that wasn’t very polite of me, it was also an unwanted advance, and he shouldn’t have been offended at my lack of response. It was my response that was going to dictate the level of happiness he got out of saying that. It had NOTHING to do with how good the comment would make me feel.

So, why are you saying ‘hello’ to your coworker? Are you doing it because you want someone to say ‘hello’ to you, or because you genuinely wanted to greet the person, regardless of his reaction?

The burnt toast: Well, there’s not much to be said there. Burnt toast is just this side of burnt popcorn on both the tolerable and the smelly scale. But to put it into perspective, a child somewhere is eating actual trash to survive, and another is eating nothing at all. Burnt toast will do just fine.

So, why do we care when things aren’t the way we hope they are, and why do we let it get to us?

The truth is, the answer doesn’t matter. Sure, we can get into a whole philosophical thing, but at the core, it doesn’t matter why things happen. All that matters, and all that we can control is how we react to situations.

With this in mind, I challenge you to be mindful about every reaction you have to things today. Good or bad. Just ask yourself why you feel some type of way when your favorite soda is sold out in the vending machine, or when your commute takes longer than usual. Does it really matter in the grand scheme of things? And why are you feeling this emotion?

You’ll learn a lot about yourself in a short time.

You would think that being a writer for a living would mean that I can’t get enough of it, but that’s not always the case.

So many times I’ve wanted to sit down and write a blog worthy of your time, but I just couldn’t figure out what it was that I had to say.

Sure, I still love cooking (and eating!!!), and I fully intend to continue sharing recipes, because I know how many wonderful ones I’ve found online that I couldn’t live without at this point. But over the last year, some things have become increasingly clear to me.

First, I’ve become very focused on overall health. Not only physically, but mentally; forcing myself to carve out time to strengthen my mind as much as I have my body.

This goes along with the second thing that has become clear to me, which is that I spend a lot of time trying to cultivate a positive mindstate, often coming away from each week with little things I have learned, and practiced. Skills like learning to let things go, because we often allow them to weigh so heavily on us.

I’m not an expert or a doctor anything, but I’m a person on a journey. On this journey, I’ve met other people wandering in the Wilderness of Self-Discovery, and we have traded nuggets of wisdom that have helped make me my best self ever.

So, for those of you that have followed me for my love of art, or my cheap and easy recipes, the good news is that I don’t plan to change any of that. However, I do plan on trying to help you live the happiest life possible, the best way that I know: through example.

If you happen to know me in person, that probably terrifies you, because I’m definitely one of those people who, for some reason, attracts the oddest situations ever. But it makes for great learning and teaching moments that I look forward to sharing with you.

With that in mind, I’ll leave you with this: Let’s be better today than we were yesterday.