Do not look where you fell but where you slipped. – Proverb
Advice, most excellent! I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love the Chinese Proverb above: “Do not look where you fell but where you slipped.”
Have you ever found yourself thinking, “I can’t believe I said that?!” – or, maybe, “I can’t believe I made such a mistake!” If you’re human, you’ve been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. I have my own collection of regret-tees. They never fit that well, do they?
If we were to stop looking at the mistake and search out the root of the mistake (or as our proverb says, the place we slipped), not only would we understand the fall better, we’d be better equipped to watch out for the next banana peel.
Personally, I’m convinced that it all begins in the mind, with a single unexpected thought.
We’re going about our daily life, probably minding our own business, when an uninvited, negative, and completely unwelcomed thought enters our head. It catches us at a weak moment, so we don’t shut the door in his face – we actually invite him in. We even allow him to have his say while we sit and listen. This is, of course, the point where we seal our own fate.
Once its been given the floor, the thought grows and grows. The longer we allow it to stick around, the more we feed and nourish it. It’s like an unwanted house guest – if we keep feeding it and giving it a warm place to sleep, it’ll never leave!
A few of the most common Slip-Inducing thoughts are:
1. “It’s not fair!” – This one plays on our ego and our sense of self. It’ll crop up just when it knows we’re vulnerable. Right around the time the boss pats someone else on the back, we’ll start thinking, “I’m as important around here as she is, where’s my pat?” The thought will grow in size and become, “Where’s my *$&# ?!” It isn’t long before total resentment sets in with a “fall” in its wake. The setting is ripe at this point for words to be said that you’ll regret. The trick is to cut that first thought off at the knees. When it shows up with its pity party in a box, stop it in its tracks by saying you’re happy for your co-worker and plan to even give her a pat on the back, yourself.
2. He’s not good enough for my daughter! or She’s not good enough for my son! Okay, who is? In all seriousness, this type of thought causes more friction and disharmony in families than we could even get into. No one is a winner when one family member decides to close their mind against another. It’s a no win situation that will only lead to fall after fall after fall. Guess what, we don’t ALL have to like ALL of our family or in-laws, but if we keep harping on negative thoughts and comments, we’ll be the one that isn’t liked. By anyone. Replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. Instead of, “He doesn’t make enough money…” – focus on how me makes your daughter laugh. If she doesn’t mind the money, why should you?! (When we were first married and money was as sparse as the hair on Elmer Fudd’s head, I honestly can’t remember ever caring! They were some of the funnest days of my life.)
3. I remember when he said… Not good. Not even remotely good. If anyone has so much time on their hands that they go back in the past to stir up trouble, it’s PAST time to get a hobby or two or twelve. When you catch your mind trying to dial into a “Somebody Done Me Wrong” song, change the channel. Bitterness hurts you far more than it does the person you think wronged you. Let go of it before it leads to a fall that’ll hurt far worse than the original scratch.
Always look at where you slipped in the first place. Then do everything in your power to avoid another slip and another fall.
~ Joi (“Joy”)