This is not a cat tale, but a cat inspired tale.
A few months ago, Mr. Scrappy Doo joined the family. He had been found on the street with an abscess on his tail, so the kind folks at VCAS took him in, patched him up and put him up for adoption. At about a year old, he had, I discovered, learned some bad habits, but he is such a sweet boy who will just sidle up to you with his purr on extra loud, just because he’s happy to be there.
This morning when I woke up, Scrappy was snuggled into my arms in a way I’d never before seen a cat do. Sure, I’ve had them sleep on top of me, or with my arm around them, but he was on my chest with both of my arms wrapped around him, and as happy as any boy could be.
I did promise that this wasn’t going to be a cat story, though. And it really isn’t. Scrappy made me realize that we are all made up of many qualities. I’m not going to call them “good” or “bad” because even that is a matter of perspective. For example, some might admire and appreciate my sarcastic wit while others will swear that sarcasm is simply cruel. Same trait, different audience.
Over time, most of us try to fit in, at least a little, and tone down the less popular qualities and emphasize the ones people have indicated they like to see. Unfortunately, this means that we are smothering our true selves for the sake of acceptance.
I have friends who’ve worked at the same company for over thirty years, yet, if you were to ask if they were happy with their job, they might look at you quizzically as if to say “Why would I seek happiness in my job?”
Confucius said “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”
How many of us really live that? How many of us spend years chasing the almighty buck, doing work that stifles us, behaving a certain way so employers will let us keep a job that, if we don’t hate it, we don’t actually love it either.
What if we were, instead, to just be ourselves and attract the work which inspires us…which makes us feel that we’re making a difference? Would that be such a bad thing?
In the 90’s the big thing at a lot of companies was “diversity”. We had meetings about it, learned to manage it, learned how to be sensitive to it, etc. But was it really diversity they were teaching or was it simply racism in a pretty package? Nothing was said about having different viewpoints about any of the normal stuff. It was all about being sensitive about people’s race (everyone except the Caucasians, anyway). I remember being called into my manager’s office because a woman of Jamaican descent had overheard a conversation I was having with a co-worker in which the word “pig” was used. The conversation did not concern her, nor was I making a derogatory remark about someone, but simply because the word had negative connotations for her, I was supposed to be sensitive to a background I knew nothing about!
I’m sorry, but when I think of diversity, I think of the qualities which make us unique individuals. What country our family comes from, our religion or the color of our skin are only some of the things which make up our individuality, and, in my opinion, the least important ones, at that! Far more important to me are qualities like intelligence, integrity, wit and kindness. I couldn’t care less whether your parents came over on the Mayflower, you arrived on a slave trader, or are a direct descendant of Hitler. Those things happened to your ancestors, not you. What makes YOU special? How do YOU inspire others (and don’t answer that you don’t. Believe it or not, every single one of us inspires someone, whether we know it or not!)
What I’m trying to say here is that we all have a bucket load of qualities. Eventually, we are drawn to people who either share or appreciate ours just as we share or appreciate theirs. But during our formative years when we spend our days in classrooms with people not necessarily of our choosing, learning things which are not always interesting to us, we do what we have to to fit in, and in the process, stifle what might be our best qualities. Many people get a false message when they stifle themselves, thinking that people like them because they fit in.
Nothing could be further from the truth. People love and appreciate us when we are true to ourselves. Those who pay attention to us when we are trying to fit in are people who have no real desire to know us, nor would they be there for us when the proverbial crap hit the oscillating air mover. Small wonder so many of us end up in lousy marriages! And for the record, I like my eggs either scrambled or in an omelet with turkey and veggies and cheese.
My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I choose to be myself, despite the fact that I don’t fit in in very many places.
2. I am grateful for the freedom to choose.
3. I am grateful for a simpler, more honest lifestyle, and the means to give it to myself.
4. I am grateful for the love and inspiration I get from my cats. They’re a lot smarter than people realize.
5. I am grateful for abundance: determination, perseverance, choice, humor, health, harmony, peace, love and prosperity.
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