I had lunch with a friend today who shared a brilliant thought with me. I wanted to share it because I know I am going to apply it to my own life.
Every interaction is like a knock on the door. We are open and kind and we answer the door. Someone is there on the other side holding out a present. There are two kinds of packages. The first package is beautiful. It is wrapped in gorgeous paper and covered with a shiny gold bow. The second package was picked up out of the garbage can. It is covered in junk and growing mold. Other garbage has started to cling to it. It is in that moment we have to make a choice. We hold the power to accept the package or turn it away and shut the door.
This is how one very smart mother taught her kids to deal with people who say and do kind things vs. kids who do and say mean and hurtful things. When her daughter comes home and talks about someone who has hurt her feelings, the mother asks, why would you accept such a horrible package? Hand it back and close your door. It’s so simple and so genius at the same time.
I have always told myself that words are just words. Only I get to decide what meaning to give them. If someone says something unkind about me and it is untrue, why would I get my feelings hurt because the words hold no value. They simply aren’t true. But to be able to visualize kindness or unkindness in the form of a package and to feel the freedom in my choice to accept or decline, places the power right back into my own two hands.
Next time someone gives you a compliment, grab that shiny package and feel good. Next time someone holds out a rotten package, hand it back and close the door. Don’t forget to lock it before turn and you walk away.