T-Bomb: Be honest. Who’s problem is this really?

Truth Bomb Tuesday: If you can get past this blind spot, life becomes easier.

How many of the rods on your own back are of your own making?

I think this is one of the big blind spots that people have. We create dramas for ourselves, and then forget that we just have the power to let those dramas go.

I remember years ago – she’s not with us now – there was someone in the office who took it upon herself to organise a farewell party for a junior staff member.

In my view, a few beers and a carrot cake – maybe a cheese platter – was going to be more than enough.

But this woman ended up building up her own head of steam. It would be nice to get some bunting, wouldn’t it? Not everyone likes beer, so why don’t I get some gin? Actually, wouldn’t it be fun to do cocktails? And if we’re doing cocktails, then maybe some hot food might be nice to. We could buy some party pies, but I saw a recipe for some delightful Turkish cheese triangles in Women’s Day the other day. I could make them.

Suddenly it had become quite the show.

And suddenly she was in over her head.

Now obviously the rational thing to do here is to admit that you’ve got a little carried away, that no one really cares whether there’s biodynamic mocktails or not, and just walk it back to whatever is manageable and easy.

But that’s not the road she took. It’s never the road that anybody takes.

And this is the blind spot there’s so many people have.

She couldn’t admit that she had created a rod for her own back. So she went into mental acrobatics – into contortions – to stop herself seeing this.

What comes next, is often some kind of appeal to some sort of universal moral standard.

“We have to go to great lengths with this farewell party because that’s just what you do. It’s just manners. It’s just the right thing to do.”

And this universal moral standard then gets roped in to pulling other people in on the mission.

“I don’t have time to bake the cheese triangles now, so you have to do it. No we can’t just get party pies. We have to bake our own cheese triangles. It’s the only decent thing to do. Didn’t your mother teach you manners?”

She ended up coming off as a bit of a bossy boots. She couldn’t frame it as a simple request for help. She couldn’t say, “I’ve bitten off more than I can chew here, can you give me a hand?” She couldn’t do that because deep down she knew that people might just say that they didn’t think it was actually necessary.

That would be too humiliating. So instead she had to revoke some moral authority. “Dymphna, you have to hire someone with an RSA to mix the cocktails on Friday night. It’s the only option.”

She was upset when I pulled the pin on the caterers and the 20 piece cabaret troupe. But I could also see that she was relieved.

And this is what I want to highlight. Most of our lives are heavily driven by shoulds. We feel that we have so many obligations. There are so many things we have to do.

But some of these things – many of these things – are simply obligations that we have put on ourselves. They are choices that we have made.

And in that sense, we can take some of the stress out of our lives by simply choosing not to take these things on.

But the first step in that – and often the hardest step – is recognising that those obligations are burdens that we ourselves have chosen to take on.

This is the blind spot we have to see through.

But if we can do that, it’s the easiest way available to make our lives that little bit easier.


Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *