Dearest Sugar Shells,
Want to play a game? Yes?? Excellent! Here we go.
Let's pretend that you've just inherited a very expensive, very antique, intricately hand-woven Persian rug.
It was bequeathed to you by your loving grandparents, and the expectation is that you'll cherish and admire this rug as much as they did. You'll enforce the no-shoes rule, get it cleaned regularly, and of course you'll re-design all your furnishings around it.
However, you have a teeny problem: you hate this rug.
So, what do you do? Please select from the choices below.
A) Grit your teeth, accept the rug, and start re-arranging your living room.
B) Watch your grandparents cry as you loudly insist that their heinous rug will never cross your threshold.
If you picked Option A:
You're in fabulous company. This choice seems popular in our culture at large. You may know this decision by a different name, such as "grin and bear it" or "suck it up," and it can absolutely win you friends, love, and money.
If you picked Option B:
Bold! As someone who has picked Option A for much of her life, personally I applaud your strong-willed independence. (Watching grandparents cry is a deeply sad image though...with a hint of psychopathy. Yikes.)
Anyway, the point of this game is to admit that I used to think the above options were the only real possibilities. Disappointing other people terrified me so I generally chose Option A. These days, thank goodness, my answer would be Option C, which is:
C) Get quiet and ask, "Do I really want this rug?"
SO: If you picked Option C:
Get used to loss. Ha!
Actually, I'm not joking. What you're doing is investing energy in discovering what's truly true...which in and of itself takes guts. Then, ideally, you take loving, respectful action based on that truth.
This is the kind of thing that can mean breaking the rules. (Whatever the rules may be - e.g., In this family we do whatever Grandma wants.) And you very well may lose something you value, like your family's approval.
But Option C isn't rebelling without cause. It's choosing to Be Honest. And if that happens to involve rule-breaking, then so be it - and more power to you. In my experience, the pain of loss eventually yields a crystalline peace that is absolutely worth it.