Early Spring 2014 -- The Power of Quotes
I've been a quote junkie for as long as I can remember. To me, quotes have the power to communicate with a precision like nothing else. The best part is when a simple string of words changes you in a profound way; when you have that "aha!" moment that forever changes how you relate to others as well as to yourself. Such a moment happened to me several months ago. The words didn't come from Albert Einstein, Jane Austen, or Marilyn Monroe, but from my 28-year-old buddy, Brian. When I expressed my concern that I had been insensitive to him, here was his reply:
"I know your essence, and even if you said something that did bother me I wouldn't forget who you are, and that makes a huge difference in how I take things. In Spanish there's a phrase that says 'tomalo como de quien viene,' which means 'take it as the person it comes from.' Mostly that phrase is used with a negative connotation but I use it with a positive one."
These simple words have transformed my relationships as well as my own peace of mind. What a liberating (and reasonable!) notion -- that knowing someone makes all the difference in how you interpret their words or actions. Why not give your loved ones the benefit of the doubt (keeping in mind who they are) vs. allowing their words to scramble around in your head as you turn them into a villain whose sole purpose is to make your life miserable?
After being on the receiving end of someone's "scrambler" this past year, when the person completely lost sight of who I am, Brian's words were just the refreshing dose of wisdom and sanity I needed to hear. I began to apply his wisdom in my daily interactions. Rather than jump to conclusions and assume the worst of someone ("How cruel of her not to invite me! She really must not like me."), I do what Brian does and remind myself whom I'm dealing with! Sometimes we need to remember that a dear friend is not the 7th grade P.E. teacher who gave us a failing grade in basketball or an ex-boyfriend who abandoned us for a young grocery clerk. When a dear friend has a heart of gold, why should we lose sight of that the first time she does something that bothers us?
As Pollyanna-like as this sounds, I've always thought that relationships should help us, not hurt us. Adapting a philosophy like Brian's can do nothing but help us and our relationships. With this new year before us, my hope is that we make more of an effort not to be so quick to think the worst of those we love. Brian's words were one of my greatest gifts last year, and I hope to pass them on to others in 2014. Happy New Year!