Being Bold & Humble
"Freedom lies in being bold."Robert Frost
I recently had dinner with my friend Tracy who has an adorable and precocious daughter, Graysen. Like many parents, Tracy and I compare notes about our challenges and joys of raising a little girl. At dinner, Tracy told one story about her daughter that I'll carry with me for a long time. This is the essence of the narrative (I'm using a little poetic license):
First, picture Graysen as an articulate, towhead/blonde, four-year-old who loves everything having to do with fairies. She watches fairy shows, draws fairy pictures, and pretends to be a fairy. One day, she walks up to a couple of neighborhood boys who were playing with light sabers and plastic guns. The boys were excited to see a new "target" and decided to "shoot" Graysen with all of their weapons.
"Bang! Bang! We got you! You've been shot!!! Bang! Bang! You're dead! We GOT YOU!!!" shout the boys.
Well, Graysen would have NONE of those antics. Without hesitation, she planted her feet, squared her shoulders, and shot out her arm with the palm of her hand facing the boys and shouted...
"BLOCKED!!!" Then, she smiled her best fairy-like grin and used her hand to make a sweeping arch in front of her (as any good fairy would) while saying...
"R-A-I-N-B-O-W." She then spun on her heels and walked away from those silly, silly boys.
We laughed at this story not just because Graysen is awesome, but because she is convinced, deep in her fairy heart, that rainbows always block silly boy-bullets. Fairies rule; boys drool.
We also love this story because we wish we could have the same that same attitude now that we're adults. Humor me for a second and think about the two steps Graysen made and see if you could apply them to your life.
1. Reject the weapons of your opponents. So much of the time, our "enemies" are wielding weapons about as real as your average Luke Skywalker light saber. They are only as powerful as we imagine them to be. Often, we buy into other people's games and run away from their emotional or verbal attacks when what's really needed is BOLDNESS (which, by the way, is always capitalized... and maybe even bolded, underlined, and italicized)! BOLDNESS! We become more powerful when we don't give others permission to make up the rules of the game.
For example, maybe the aggressors in your world use sarcasm, gossip, or innuendo to assault your character - BLOCKED! Perhaps they ignore your efforts, minimize your contributions, or take credit for your work - REJECTED! If we're acting in Graysen's style, we'd ignore slights, overlook insults, and not let the blows impact who we KNOW ourselves to be. Instead, we would plant our feet, square our shoulders and re-frame the interaction with those pulling the triggers. I couldn't agree more with Eleanor Roosevelt's famous claim: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." BLOCKED!
2. Rise above your opponents with grace. No one expects a battle to end with a beautiful thought. In blocking the boys' attacks, Graysen didn't lower her character by matching their aggression and storm away; she gave them something else to think about...something of an entirely different flavor (a "rainbow of fruit flavor, maybe?"). Consider what that looks like in the "grown-up" world. How would our interactions change if we returned insults with encouragement? How would we feel about ourselves if we didn't voraciously compete with our co-workers to collect credit for every achievement but rather stepped aside to allow others to take more than their "fair" share? Can you imagine letting go of the need to be perfectly understood and instead be willing to be consistently humble and kind? Wouldn't that relieve the pressure of any attack? There's gold at the end of that rainbow, methinks.
There's much to learn from Greysen's boldness, but I'd be a better person if I could just remember to be both...
...Bold(BLOCKED!) and Humble (R-A-I-N-B-O-W...).