When something goes wrong or doesn’t go our way, when we don’t do things or let people down there may be an excuse involved. That excuse is the lie we tell ourselves to justify our behavior or lack of effort. “I was late because…” or “I couldn’t do it because…” And all too often we use the same excuse multiple time because it works. People believe us and buy our excuses, so we use it as often as possible.
The sad part is we tell ourselves these excuses and we buy them. We believe we are less than or not able to, unwanted or too sick to proceed. We get in our own way by delivering less than we can, and we then think that is all we deserve which is not only an excuse it is a lie. Over and over again we do things that make us feel bad about ourselves and then tell ourselves the same mediocre messages. We let people down and tell ourselves they will not notice.
Whether others buy your excuses or not, the real loser here is you. You said it and somehow believe the excuse makes it all okay, when it really only makes things worse. It is time to stop telling yourself the same age old excuses – I don’t have time, I don’t know how, I tried, I should, or ‘they’ did it to me – and be responsible for your life. Deliver on what you promise others and yourself. Be the person you want to be not the person your excuses prevent you from being. Our character is demonstrated by the excuses we are willing to accept from ourselves and others. Life is too short to let excuses prevent you from being your best you.
We’ve all got em – excuses – it’s how long we are willing to sell and buy them that determines our fate. Be stronger than your excuses and live life to it’s fullest potential. Don’t settle for the life your excuses let you get by with…you are better than that.
These stairs are located at an anciet temple in Kyoto, Japan. The site was used by Samurai and leaders to meet and discuss. People gathered on the steps to listen, speak, share and debate. I imagine that political issues and concepts were topics of conversation all too often. The speakers and audience sat or stood on these steps rallying back and forth over the topics of the day. In the end they were all protected by the same walls, borders and leaders so they had to find a way to not only get along but live together in harmony.
I think we Americans have a lot we can learn from these steps. We seem to be stuck in communication turmoil. We throw accusations and names, nasty remarks and slurs at each other through the media, social networking and any other form of communication we can find. Political parties and beliefs are attacked, belittled, insulted and degraded in public forums without thought or concern for how it is impacting the people or the relationship. We have forgotten that what made this nation great was our fight for freedom of speech. That allowing someone else to believe differently than we do, and to sit and listen patiently while they profess their belief in peace is what freedom is all about. Not everyone is right, yet in this country we have the freedom to speak without fear.
As Americans we do not all believe the same things. We do not worship the same, eat the same, live the same or spend the same. We do not love the same or stand up for the same things. At times like these it seems as if there is not much we can agree on, so the nastiness is spread evenly across both sides. We sling the mud and create scars from insult and injury that may not heal. Families, coworkers, relatives and friends stop communicating because we can’t agree to disagree.
These steps remind me that people centuries ago found a way to communicate and live together – a time when everyone carried a very sharp sword – and yet we as more sophisticated people cannot do the same. Instead of spending time degrading each other, why not remember what we love about this country and cherish the ability to think freely? Arguing and yelling, outbursts and inflamed media use is getting us no where. Its time to get on the same steps, listen to each other and figure out how to move forward together as a country. It is time to let the power of words unite us instead of divide us. Grow up people and be thankful for what we have…
I showed someone this picture of an ancient door in Kyoto, Japan. They commented that it was sad that the door was in such poor condition. That it’s beauty was marred by the missing pieces. They could imagine what it once looked like, and thought it would be great for someone to restore it to it’s original glory.
I pondered their comments. It was not just that I did not agree with them, I actually felt sorry for them. I grew up in a world where the flaws in things were called character or interesting, and perfection was not the only definition of beautiful. I was taught to find the unique and special in old, weathered and flawed objects. The spaces we lived in were not filled with furniture from a single store. They were filled with items that had a story, or creativity, or brought life and interest to the space. A door with missing parts or flaws or that appeared imperfect was valued. Value was placed on being different and the more different the better the story.
I felt sorry for the person who commented because I could only imagine the world they live in where only perfection or something with it’s original beauty in tact was impressive. Where things with flaws are seen as less, and effort should be made to bring things back towards perfection. I hoped for them that this standard only applied to things and not to people. Because people are all flawed, everyone has something about them that is not perfect. Everyone ages and their physical appearance diminishes over time. No matter how hard we try or what drugs we take, operations we survive, or plans we follow our bodies will fail and fall apart.
We are liberated when we are able to find beauty in flaws, imperfection, in the old and ancient. Our minds are opened when we look to see the value in the old and experienced instead of only wanting young and fresh. This door has stood for centuries. If it could speak imagine the stories about emperors and princesses, geisha and warriors it could tell. It has seen samurai and iPhones pass between it’s frame. It has seen cultures, worlds and empires come and go…and yet it is still standing. It has seen sun and rain, snow and heat over the decades…and it has survived it all. It has changed color, lost elements and hung there both open and closed…and it still invited the world to experience the wonders on the other side. It is far from perfect, far from pristine, far from where it once was…yet it still stands and reminds us all that no matter what comes your way, no matter how you endure the ravages of time, when you are the one still hanging in there no one can deny your value. Beauty is not in perfection, beauty is found in being the survivor who lives to tell the tale.