Crying over Spilt Milk

Suppose it isn't about being wrong. Note that I have chosen to emphasize being wrong rather than being right. We are much more afraid of loss than attracted to gain. So being wrong is particularly dangerous and we spend a lot of energy denying it and pushing blame elsewhere. After all, if I can pin the blame on someone else, it means I can't have been wrong.

Our two-year-old daughter announced with great satisfaction once, “I'm a quite right girl.” But suppose we knock both right and wrong out of the equation, what then? First, a huge amount of energy is freed actually to do something, rather than squirrel around trying to bury our mistakes.

If it doesn't matter whose fault it was that I tripped over the loose sole of my sandal, then bang goes the internal conversation about my clumsiness, laziness (not mending the sole), Bill's thoughtlessness (not gluing it when asked, with a nice diversion over his not listening, never listening), my parsimony (buying cheap shoes), the previous house owner installing a carpet that shows every mark (where I spilt the milk I was carrying). The possibilities are endless and I could spend a fruitless afternoon doing them justice, and at the end it would still be my fault. As Lily Tomlin said, “if you win the rat race, you are still a rat.”

So suppose that it doesn't matter. Then I have a shoe that needs mending and a dirty carpet. So what?

It means that I approach life in a different mood. I just happen to trip and it would be sensible to glue the shoe – or better still, Bill could because we would still be on speaking terms.

Life just unfolds, I observe it, rectify it where practically needed and say sorry genuinely, light-heartedly. And get on with something else.


About UntraveledRoads

Fascinated by life, looking for answers to chronic pain and finding unexpected gifts. Interested in people, ideas, healing and humour. I am very happily married with three children and a kitten. As English born immigrants to Canada, we have family spread overseas, a daughter in South Africa and one in England. We also run a charity in South Africa to educate black, rural South African Women. Our first girl from a rural township has just graduated as an accountant from Johannesburg University and got a good job in a bank.
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