We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are.

I have an elderly relative that tells this story of going to the ballet (The Nutcracker) and her younger niece (who was only 6 or 7 at the time) was badly behaved and ruined the show for her. She tells the story, as if it happened yesterday, whenever the younger niece is present, a girl who is now a very successful and progressive girl in her thirties.

The elderly relative is a ‘play it by the rules’ type of person who never wavers from how she thinks she is supposed to behave or talk. The niece, one of my favourite people in the world, is a charming, adventurous, free thinker and planet improver who has had and will continue to have a full and exciting life.

I tell the story because it goes along with my belief that in life, we are given numerous opportunities to respond well, but most of us don’t.

Let’s just say we rewind the story here. Let’s go back to the ballet with that lively little girl and her scrunchy aunt. What if the aunt had recognised that this little girl was just too young (perhaps too smart) and too excited to be at the ballet and in an effort to help everyone else enjoy the performance, she took the young girl away from the ballet and they spent the time looking at the Christmas windows outside and sipped hot chocolate - creating a lasting and loving memory for both of them?

Every time I hear the story where this young girl is vilified, I see the aunt as responding badly to the situation. Not only did she respond badly that day, but she has continued to respond badly every single time she tells the story. Perhaps she even thinks she is a better person than the niece, because she behaves well at the ballet, afterall.

When we respond with love, we not only create a loving response, we create an everlasting love. It’s kind of like contributing to your RRSP, if you max out your opportunities in life to give love instead of judgement, you will be rich in love when you get older.

But if you’re taking every opportunity to max out your judgements and hostility, even keeping them alive for years by telling the stories over and over again, you will be rich with judgement and hostility when you get older.

It’s that simple. You choose how to respond. We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.

Wishing you a most pleasant and insightful week.

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