The Compliment and The Label

Why is it that whenever we compliment ourselves on some aspect of parenting that is going well, the very next minute/hour/day it all goes to hell? Is the universe shouting at us that we fell off Humble Hill and time to get back on?

A similar rule seems to apply whenever you try to define yourself. The other day I was chatting to my neighbour who has an awe-inspiring level of fitness AND three kids. I asked her how she managed to have such amazing motivation for biking, running, whatever else it is she does. I was curious to hear what works for her.

“Food” was her answer… “Being able to eat whatever I like.”

Instantly my heart sank. Food? Food is your motivator? You mean you can bike for 8 hours because you’ve got a bunch of scrambled eggs waiting for you back at homebase?

That was not going to cut it for me. I replied that food wasn’t a great motivator for me. I mean, hell, I often have to remind myself to eat lunch, as I told her.

The very next day I found myself glued to the fridge, pawing through it at regular intervals and furiously cooking up not just one lunch but a never-ending procession of them. What had happened to my food oblivion? Ah… then I remembered I’d defined myself as not overly interested in eating.

Whenever we try define or pin down who we are, life invariably tells you “that’s not quite it” by some means or other. If you are listening, you will hear life’s reply. Sometimes it’s very quiet, other times, not so much.

I think from now on I’ll be leaving the labelling to other people. They can talk all they want about who they are. Me, I’ll be working on clawing my way onto humble hill and keeping my mouth shut.