The Signs In Your Life
Next to the front door of my childhood home, there was a square piece of wood, lovingly, but not perfectly painted and the number 94 was hammered in with nails (those also hammered lovingly, but definitely not perfectly done).
I made it when I was 5 in summer camp (which I hated, but, that is another story). Now, I don’t know whether my parents hung that sign out of love, pride or coercion from me, but, that sign hung there for years. Long after the nails were rusty. Long after the paint got weathered, chipped and flaked off. That sign hung there well into teenage years. After a while, I kind of forgot it was there. Going in and out of my house, I saw it, expected it, never thought it would change.
One day, it must have been when I first came home from college for Thanksgiving break; as I walked up to the door, i instinctively looked up and to left where my trusty (and rusty) sign hung, and, It. Was. Gone. Replaced by some wrought iron piece that was really quite lovely. But, jarring, if not offensive. Where was my masterpiece?
Gone? Just gone?
Apparently, said momento had fallen off during a storm, and, (sob), broke. So, off it went into the garbage, and, (knowing how my mother was), was probably replaced within the day.
OK, I know what you are thinking. What is the big deal? Just a sign, not even a particularly nice one at that. Move on.
That is when I realized, how often do we hold onto things just because we made them?
Childhood momentos and nostalgia aside, what about our mistakes? After all, we’ve made our mistakes. And, some of them have been worked on quite dilgently. Sometimes, even more than we do on any other physical project. For example, how we relate to others. How we relate to ourselves.
So, so, so often, people believe just because they have done something one way, means there is no potential to change. Meaning, you can’t be patient with the kids because yelling is so much easier. Fighting with your husband, because, it’s something you have always done. And, even if we feel frustrated/disappointed with ourselves, if the method is effective, we use it over and over.
Like the sign that guests and delivery men could read pretty clearly, after a while it no longer enhanced the aesthetics of the house. And, once the new sign was put up, while it served the same function, I have to admit that it was far prettier to look at.
When was the last time you took a moment, or, two or three to look at the rusty and chipped signs inside yourself? Yes, it is far easier to leave well enough alone, even simpler because it takes a lot of effort to change. Even if in the moment it feels annoying, frustrating even painful, at least it is something known. And, no matter how bad it is, changing can be far more intimidating.
After all, how will life, my friends/family, how will I need to change if I let go of my mistakes?
Sometimes, the new will be good. Sometimes the new won’t be so good. But, it will always be a learning process and experience. And, that is where growth comes in, by learning.
We don’t need to hold onto something just because we did it. Sometimes, it is because we did it that we need to let go.
Try it out. You may like what you see.