My Quirky Little Ms. B.
I must have the only pup in canine history who doesn’t like to go out for a walk. In fact, when I get the leash she runs and hides! I have to entice her with treats to get into her harness, and even then, once we are out “walking”, she digs her paws into the ground and refuses to budge! Well I recently figured out that I could make a game of it, by throwing a little treat a couple of feet ahead and letting her run after it and sniff it out. Eureka! My dog has begun to enjoy her walks. Or at least tolerate them. I do, however, still have to deal with her quirkiness—or as I prefer to call it, her “individuality”. That is, she will only start eating from the treat -trail on the third treat. She will run after the first and second piece of cookie-bone, but then will turn her nose up at them. Only on the third treat and thereafter, will she begin to eat the piece of cookie. Go figure. This morning this eccentricity really made me chuckle. It also made me think.
I began to think of how in different periods of our life, we all know the feeling of trying to “fit in”. We sometimes feel we need to repress our uniqueness, and the very things that make us individuals. Whether it is having to wear the same jeans and sport shoes that our college friends wore, or feeling pressured to bake something to leave in the kitchen at our workplace, because our co-workers do that. While normative rules are important for actively fitting in with the world around us, it is also important to appreciate what makes us unique. When people hear my name, or pick up one of my books, for instance, they immediately associate me with having turned my passion for my Italian heritage into a unique approach to personal development/self-help principles.
Developing the gifts that make us special is what endears us to others, and it is also what allows us to make the fullest contribution to the world. It is so easy to let criticism or others’ disapproval or ridicule, send us running back to full-throttle conformity. Some of the greatest talents across the centuries, would never have been able to leave their contributions to the world, had they not had the courage to follow their calling, and what made them unique.
I love my little furry Friend, and I love the way her third-treat rule makes me laugh and smile. I also love encouraging YOU to stand by the gifts and talents that make you who you are. If you get real clear on those essentials, you will have discovered the path to being all that you can–and should be, over the course of your precious lifetime.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. If you had one week with no obligations or responsibilities (no work, chores, errands, etc), and no TV or Internet, what would you most love to do? Write down at least ten ideas, starting with what you naturally gravitate toward in your free, unstructured time.
2. Ask your five closest friends (and I mean FRIENDS), what they best like about you. This is often a clue to what makes you special in others’ eyes. See how you might further develop the qualities they comment on.
3. What is the vision you have for your life? Is it realistic and doable? You will only frustrate yourself otherwise. Think of concrete ways to make what you desire become a reality. Since we are on the brink of the New Year, think of how realizing your dreams will give your life more meaning.
So while it is important to follow the spoken and unspoken civil norms of the society we live in, it is also important to find a positive ways to express the treasures of your individuality. When you do so, you will touch everyone around you and give all of us, a reason to smile.