What if everything is perfect? This is a question I’ve been practicing applying to a variety of situations in life. For example, we just invited someone over for dinner. This person had never been to our home before. We requested our guest to arrive at five p.m. with the expectation to eat shortly after her arrival.
Five o’clock came and went, five fifteen came and went and five thirty was approaching, still no guest.
Now what? Time to practice. Practice staying calm instead of getting irritated or annoyed. Time to practice faith and trust our guest was okay. (She is without a phone and unable to confirm her whereabouts and safety). Time to practice life unfolding on life’s terms.
We did all the “right” things. We confirmed date, time and location. We prepared a meal and succeeded in having it ready on time. Yet there appeared to be a snag, a less than perfect unfolding.
Contemplating whether to go ahead and eat or wait longer I realized I hadn’t gone for my walk. Though I was very hungry I pushed myself to go for the walk as I’ve renewed my commitment to exercise since the start of the year. (Feel free to drop me an email throughout the year to help me stay accountable!) Also, I promised myself I’d eat upon my return, guest or no guest.
As I was entering my front door a car slowed in front of the house and pulled in the driveway. Greeting her at her car, she apologized for being late and shared she misjudged the time for the distance to travel. Excuse? I believe not as she took ownership instead of blaming external circumstances. Could she have taken a number of precautionary steps to better calculate? Probably.
I certainly have never misjudged time – especially the first time going somewhere – and of course you probably never have either! Once again, it isn’t what happens in life, rather how we respond to what happens. We aren’t responsible for what other people think, say or do. However we are responsible and do have a choice how we respond.
My response? Gratitude for her safety and the three of us enjoyed a delicious meal and wonderful conversation.
As our guest departed it occurred to me the situation provided evidence to “What if everything is perfect?” Had our guest been on time I would have fore gone my walk that day (in spite of my commitment). Had she been on time I would have missed the opportunity to practice staying calm, applying faith and trust, allowing life to unfold on life’s terms and practical application of “It’s not what happens, rather how we respond to what happens.”
Granted in the whole scheme this is a pretty minute disruption in life. We certainly have much more intense circumstances show up. However, how often do you allow the little aspects to take on a higher intensity? No wonder situations of greater magnitude are overwhelming . . . we’ve set the bar!
Here are some common possibilities that many of us have experienced. Maybe you’re enabling someone and wishing they’d change without you having to experience the discomfort of setting boundaries. What if everything is perfect? We both know we’re unlikely to learn to set boundaries until our “back is against the wall”. Maybe you’re harboring resentment for having been wronged. How can we learn forgiveness if we’ve never been wronged? This can be a real painful lesson as most of us are convinced forgiveness lets someone off the hook. Actually we do – ourselves! Maybe people tend to walk all over you. How else will you learn to stand up for yourself and be an assertive communicator?
Therefore, it seems as though behaviors or circumstances being right or wrong aren’t the issue. Often, even when we’re right it does nothing to alleviate our pain or change the circumstances! We can however change how we experience something. I pose we would be better served to recognize clues we are overlooking because we’re locked on a certain perspective. Sometimes this is an unwillingness to see a situation differently and many times due to our inability to see beyond our limited view. If an alternative option is misaligned with our beliefs we are incapable of considering it possible.
What if we changed our view? Remember we choose where to put our focus. Leave what we cannot change alone and put the emphasis on what we can change. What if everything is perfect? Yes, even the undesirable and the painful?
What situation in your life can you apply “What if everything is perfect?” Strong recommendation – avoid starting with a really intense situation in your life.
And what if there was a collection of examples as a learning tool? Being aware of other people’s experiences is validating, motivating and allows us to move beyond what otherwise holds us back. Have you ever noticed when relating to someone with a common occurrence we’re inclined to offer help? Have you also noticed that provides healing and value to yourself knowing you’ve touched another’s life? That’s the Chicken Soup for the Soul concept.
I am compiling examples to publish and serve this very purpose and would appreciate your help. To submit an example for consideration, simply send an email with your real life situation that initially appeared less than perfect. Share what you recognized when you applied “What if everything is perfect?” There must be more emphasis on what was learned and the value gained than the circumstance itself. Please be sure to include complete contact information which will be treated totally confidential – simply used in the event of clarification and to send a thank you. More than one submission per person is okay and you’re welcome to share this invite with people you believe would want to be a part of this project. Thanking you in advance for your contributions!
Until next month . . . What if everything is perfect?!