Saturday, April 15, 2006

What Do You Do With What Threatens You?

One of the perks of my job is that I get to read several books before they are ever released in bookstores. A few weeks ago, I read a book by friend Sarah Bragg that is being released in June (I highly recommend it).

In Body. Beauty. Boys. Sarah said something that really stuck out to me. “Make a habit of celebrating publicly what threatens you privately,” she said. Wise words we could all do good to live by. In my interactions with Sarah I have seen this practice to be true in her life. Her authenticity is part of what makes the statement so profound.

What about you? If you are anything like me, I am sure the last thing you want to do when something someone else does threatens you is go out and celebrate it. But why is that? What is so hard about celebrating other people and their success?

Because of things as simple as getting an “A” on a test or getting asked to the prom, people turn on us. And we turn on them. We act as if someone else’s good news is our bad news even if their good news really doesn’t affect us much at all.

We don’t just want to be our best. We want to be the best. And if someone else is at his or her best, it doesn’t matter if we are at our best too. Their best threatens our best and we freak out.

You might be reading this thinking that you can relate more to being the one who gets turned on rather than the one who turns on others. But I would venture to say that all of us have spent a fair amount of time on both sides of the equation.

So this week do something to change that. Celebrate publicly what threatens you privately. And don’t be fake about it. That cancels out the whole thing. If your friend scores higher on a test than you do, then genuinely congratulate her—even if she is being a brat and gloating about the whole thing.

Other people’s actions and reactions are not our responsibility, but we are accountable for ourselves. So even when others choose to do you wrong, take it in stride and respond by doing what is right.

And remember, someone else’s success is not a personal attack on you. It’s simply his or her way of living life the way it was meant to be lived—at his or her best. So instead of getting emotional about it, raise the bar in your life and go out there and live life at your best too.

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