There once was a lady, of sixty-some years, who had worked almost all of her adult life. She had helped, inspired and coached many children and young adults. There had, of course, been some adversities and her job had not always been easy. But she had learned many things, she had been able to develop her many talents, and she had been given opportunities to share the warmth of her helpful heart with many.
One day she fell off her bicyce. This left her with a concussion and a hip fracture. Since she had to recover and heal, she was not able to work for a while. When, at last, she had sufficiently recovered, her co-workers welcomed her back with open arms. Bit by bit she took up some of her former tasks. Not all of them however, because she was not able to anymore. The accident had left her with a slower pace and a diminishment in her ability to concentrate. Fortunately, people understood. But as the year went by, her history became more and more a thing of the past. People again started to ask her to do the extra chores she had always done so well before the accident. After all, she was known for her many talents and people gladly made use of these.
Her spirit, after all, did not know any limitations!
This new situation gave the woman mixed feelings. On one hand, she did not understand why people still kept asking her to do those chores. Hadn’t they noticed that she had some limitations these days? On the other hand she still enjoyed doing the chores. This dilemma meant saying “no” was very difficult to her. Her spirit, after all, did not know any limitations!
“I know how to, but I am not able to,” the woman thought to herself. “I know all the ins and outs of what they’re asking me to do, but because of my physical limitations I am no longer able to – at least not to the degree that I wish for.”
There is a big difference between knowing how to and being able to, On this planet there are more people that know how to, compared to those that are able to. It is just that people sometimes do not know the difference. Some people read books and after reading know a lot about certain topics – but can they apply what they know? In my classes there are always a few of my students who know the textbook materials but receive a below average grade when it comes down to application. These are examples of a lack of self-knowledge.
In contrast, there is the story of this elder lady. She had a lot of knowledge which she could also apply. But because of her limitations she was not longer capable of turning it all into action. She knew this all too well. Saying “no” was difficult to her, not because of a lack of self-knowledge. It was caused by a lack of self-acceptance, a lack of self-love.
When, at last, the elder lady had discovered this, it became less and less of a problem to answer requests with a guilt-free “no”. She had rediscovered the love for herself. However, just like I wrote at the beginning of this story, she had a warm, helpful heart. She decided to help others take over her old chores. She instructed them and showed them all the knacks of the job. She could do this now. The love for herself had come to express itself and had found its complement in her love for others and for the whole.
“A beautiful mind blossoms with the frequent correspondence between your thoughts and your heart.”