This past weekend was gorgeous here in Kentucky. I think we were all convinced we’d seen the last of old man winter until he came blowing back into this part of the country again Monday. Apparently he hadn’t gotten it out of his system yet.
Anyway, Saturday and Sunday were beautiful. We actually got to work in the yard again – we’d almost forgotten what that felt like.
I was raking leaves away from one of our fences when I uncovered a black snake with yellow stripes. Fortunately, he wasn’t very big. Otherwise, I’m certain I would have died on the spot, out of sheer fear. When he first saw the rake, he lunged at it with all the arrogance he could summon. Did you see the movie, Beowulf – where the lead character boldly says, “I. Am. Beowulf.” – As in don’t mess with me, I’ll have to kill you without even working up a sweat.
That’s the approach this little guy took. “I. Am. Snake.” However, when he saw the size of the rake, and that it had a human (albeit stunned human) attached to it, he switched gears. All of a sudden it was, “You. Are. Bigger.” Then the poor little guy kind of coiled up, afraid. At first I tried to let him crawl onto the rake, so I could airlift him onto the other side of the fence (putting us both the heck out of the other’s world).
He wanted no part of that, so I quietly backed away and let him find his way through the fence. I name everything, whether they’re daughters, cats, possums, raccoons, fairy figurines, stuffed animals, etc., so I had to give this guy a name. Bumblebee slithered away as I told him, “Don’t come back when you can stay longer.”
Then I took my rake to my husband and informed him that he’d just lost a helper. Sure, Bumblebee wasn’t very big or intimidating. But my thinking was that he could have a mom, dad, or big brother nearby and the thought of all three ganging up on me at once led to a quick retreat.
This colorful snake (I have to admit, he was pretty) wasn’t any different from most of us. His highest opinion of himself was that he was a very, very bad boy. Intimidating! To be feared by all! Makes women run off screaming! Oh yeah, he’d read the press releases.
Problem was, when it came to living up to this highest opinion, he looked at what he perceived to be overwhelming odds and ferocious competition. Little did he know that if he’d held his ground and maintained that initial “I. Am. Snake.” attitude, I’d have made a hasty and loud retreat.
My unreasonable mind would have thought, “Well, he’s small but he’s wildly mad, and I’m much more afraid of him than he is of me. He must be a heartless killer. I’d better get out of here.” Of course, I’d have been having these thoughts while doing a new dance known as the back scoot boogie. It’s the boot scoot boogie without boots.
If he’d kept wearing his highest opinion of himself, I would have been the one perceiving that I was up against overwhelming odds and ferocious competition. It would have seemed kind of unreasonable, but I was a ready believer.
What about you? What is your highest opinion of yourself? Do you live up to it all the time or just when you KNOW it’s safe? If the odds look a little questionable, does your opinion change or do you maintain your position? It’s a lot easier to be self assured and even arrogant when we’re up against small prey, isn’t it? But when the stakes (or enemy!) is larger, it’s easy to look for the nearest exit.
The next time you’re facing what you’re certain is an immovable object, think of your highest opinion of yourself and refuse to give in even an inch. Stand your ground! The worst that could happen is that you go down giving it your all. There’s absolutely no shame in that, but there’s seldom any glory in retreat.
What’s the best thing that could happen? You could prove to the world that your highest opinion of yourself isn’t just an opinion, it’s an accurate depiction. Inside of that moment – the moment where you believe in yourself more than you believe in what you’re facing – is where magic lives.
Go get you some!
Think of a time when you stared down your own giant with a rake and refused to budge. I’d love for you to tell about it in the comments. Don’t worry, it’s not being boastful, it’s being helpful – because your example could help someone else when their turn at bat comes up.