Last week I talked about the thorny path. A quick personal update regarding the book I was continuing to read, stepping over the thorns…..I stopped reading it. I made it to chapter 19 out of 25. But I hit a thorn that I simply would not allow to bump up against me, and I said no more. Running with my metaphor from last week, this might be a way we trim thorns from our path. I stopped reading the book. Easy enough, right? I want to talk about ways we can trim the thorns in our path, but I again want to remind you that if you have thorns lodged in your skin or wounds from thorns that are still quite hurt or even infected, it may not be a good time to trim the thorns too much. Get some help tending to the removal of thorns and healing the wounds….find the area of the thorny patch where there are the least amount of thorns and get some rest.
- First, we need to know what your thorns are. I know I identified a couple last week. Maybe you have some of the same thorns I do….maybe you have others. But a clear idea of the thorns in your path is a fundamental starting point for removing them. Seems simple enough, but sometimes the thorns sneak up on us.
- Next, removing thorns that are already filtering into our path. Social media is a huge one. What thorns are popping up regularly as you interact with your social media. Can you stop following things that are negatively impacting you? Use social media to positively impact you, if you use it all. Sometimes cutting back how much time on social media we spend on social media is a good idea.
- What books or magazines or other images or ideas can we cut back on? Maybe there are shows and movies we want to choose to avoid….
- Educating the people around us in a gentle way can be a big step, but one that feels uber vulnerable. Assume them the benefit of not coming from a place of malintent. When we know better, we usually do better. Everyone is on their own path and may not even notice some thorns that are really hurting us. Of course, if we try to educate some of our friends gently with little to no response from them, perhaps we choose to set a boundary with how often we spend time with them.
- A big way to trim thorns is through advocacy for all of us who may be impacted by thorns. Maybe we go quite big and speak out in more public forums. Depending on the thorns, many companies and agencies and public individuals respond well to advocacy. Our voice can make a difference. We can even join other voices trimming the same thorns we are.
Trimming of thorns is definitely a way to make our path a better place. There may still be times we can’t trim the thorns and need to be able to walk through the path anyway. Maybe we are in a work environment that is just bombarded with thorns. Maybe we pass many thorny billboards on our way to our jobs. Maybe we simply want to enjoy some classic literature or films that have thorns in them. Taking care of ourselves, especially if we can predict the thorns, is priority number one here. What can we do when we see the many billboards? How can we watch the thorns and know they are there and yet not let it prick our skin? I think it is indivdual for each of us, with so many factors playing into our choices and needs.
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