On occasion, a simple stop at Jack in the Box turns me into a philosopher.
Journey with me and take in the lunacy and amusement of my fast food scene. It is the last day of Spring Break and my children love to take the boat, park at the dock, and grab lunch. The sun takes on the challenge to warm the frigid lake. Boats purr. A breeze tickles my hair. A family casts their fishing lines happily into the dark green water off the pier nearby. In the restaurant, my kiddos are snug in life vests, giving me their orders (as if I don’t have them memorized), AND outside a GOOSE is HONKING MADLY at his own reflection in the Jack in the Box window.
Silly creature. I point him out to my husband, giggle, and go about my business. Time marches on, but the goose does not. He is frantic and distressed at the audacity of this rude new enemy. I imagine his internal dialogue:
“How dare that goose honk at ME! Look at him fluffing up! Who does he think he is? HONK HONK HONK!!! I’ll show him a thing or two! HONK!”
After we ate our lunch and as we were driving away, I turned back to check on my feathered friend. He was committed to the victim’s blame game and could not step back even briefly to see he was the cause of his dilemma. I would like to consider the human psyche more capable than poultry, but more often than not, I witness similar behavior. We blame others, when really the issue lies within us.
We have all heard the familiar expression, I’m sure, that when you point a finger, there are three fingers pointed back at you. Push pause and point. Do you see it? Yes, your index finger is happily extended out, but notice that your middle, ring, and pinky fingers tuck right back and point to YOU.
I am a research girl so I can’t leave the phrase unchecked. There has to be a history there so I did some digging and discovered—I was right (that is one of my top five favorite things to say).
The phrase originates in Navajo wisdom. The word bílaʼashdlaʼii (human being) translates to the five-fingered one. Socially, for Navajo people, pointing your finger is negatively influential and vigorously avoided. Pointing is revered and used only for sacred appearances, like a rainbow. Even then, the thumb is used instead of the index finger.
There is something to grab onto there. The vision is to examine yourself for blemishes before you point them out in others.
We, sadly, are like the goose, quick to play the blame game. Our spouse is culpable. Responsibility lies with the kids…or your friend, your job, family, God, social media, politics, your second cousin’s ex-husband’s neighbor’s boss. Honking away at the “enemy” when the true culprit is our self.
When do we wake up, have the “aha” moment, and resign playing the victim role?
The goose taught me a vital life lesson. Gulp.
- I am overextended because I take on too much, not because others won’t help me.
- I am overweight because I eat at Jack in the Box and enjoy watching TV more than doing Zumba, not only because I have thyroid issues.
- I am stressed because I don’t take time to free my thoughts and pray, not because the world is busy.
- I don’t have a fat bank account because Target makes me happy and Amazon is heaven, not because I should make more money.
- I don’t have time to accomplish daily tasks, not because there are too many, but because I spend too much time on social media, which aggravates me anyway.
I would continue, but humble pie is not my favorite recipe, and I think you caught the gist.
Allow me to briefly go scientific and psychological.
There exists a theory called projection bias. To put a chapter into a sentence, projection is a subconscious defense we apply that allows us to negate our faults while ascribing them outwardly to the world and other people. So how can we move from projection to reflection and ultimately growth?
The first step is acknowledging the possibility of personal fault. Consider the off-chance that the entire world is not against you, but for you. Could the possibility exist that your current situation has a personal contribution in whole or in part? This is the absolute most difficult step. This step is all about perspective. It requires internal inspection and is uncomfortable. (There are distinct circumstances that you do NOT need to own responsibility, like abuse. That is not what I am talking about, so push those from your mind.)
Second, have faith that a powerful message is hidden within the blame, and consent to receiving it. Being at fault can be empowering because it can lead to personal growth. Use the lesson as subjective fertilizer and walk away blooming.
As everyday people, we delight in control. It feels organized and sturdy. Anytime we wag our finger to others, we think we are grasping control, but we are relinquishing it. Hear me type this!
WE ARE IN CONTROL OF OUR BEHAVIORS.
WE ARE IN CONTROL OF OUR OUTCOMES.
We all have a story. I had a happy childhood, full of love and beautiful memories. BUT I also lived in a neighborhood ravaged by gang violence, drugs, and poverty. I became a statistic at seventeen when I found myself pregnant with my son. As a child myself, I decided to put my big girl panties on and break the chains. I did not want to be a slave to my circumstance. I recognized myself as a prevailing and capable energy.
Let me be the goose momentarily. I was not in control of the glass being shiny and reflective. I was, however, able to recognize my reflection, regulate my actions, and govern my consequences.
Now you be the goose…
Do you want to honk and honk and honk? Or do you want to make positive, powerful change?
She is Online, Stay Strong, Andie Wyrick,