It was a small, almost insignificant detail that opened a can of worms. One simple sentence and a huge learning experience for me.
I was in Grade 8 and our English teacher was discussing a short story we were required to read. It was ‘Tight Corners’ by E.V Lucas.
Anyway, our teacher – let’s call her Mrs. G, was discussing a particular section of the story.
“Picture after picture was put up and sold, but I saw none of them.”
Mrs. G seemed to understand that as: “Picture after picture was put up to be sold, but I saw none of them.”
She continued explaining it this way to the class, who didn’t seem to notice the subtle difference between the two sentences.
So, in my naïveté, I put up my hand and said, ‘Miss, it’s not the same. What the author said is …’ and I earnestly pointed out the difference.
In retrospect, I suspect I was also naïve enough to think that Mrs. G was going to be thrilled that I was a diligent student who had picked up on the subtle nuances of the English language.
I was wrong – totally wrong! She reacted in a way I could not have foreseen. She called me ‘challenging’ and wondered how I could be so different from my brothers who obviously had never rocked the boat.
I stood there dumbfounded and shaken, while she ranted on and on. By the end of her tirade I was left feeling vulnerable and cheated.
I was certain I had been correct in my analysis of the sentence and the only intention that drove a somewhat reserved child like me to voice my opinions in class was because I didn’t want others to learn something I deemed technically incorrect.
Of course I didn’t argue with this teacher – I simply couldn’t, because she was too emotionally charged!
Later as we waited in the parking lot for our rides home, my friend told me she thought I shouldn’t have brought up the topic and made Mrs. G upset, because I was wrong anyway!
I could not believe my ears. Here I was, sticking my neck out to ‘help’ my classmates not to learn the ‘wrong’ thing and she didn’t even recognize that, let alone appreciate it! I spent the afternoon trying to sort out my feeling of betrayal, which now seemed more bothersome than my teacher’s tirade.
That experience taught me a couple of valuable lessons. I realised that teachers can be as vulnerable as anyone else and perhaps I could’ve been more considerate and voiced my opinions privately to her. But then, how many thirteen-year-olds are all that diplomatic?
I’ve come a long way in my understanding since then. I began to see that although ‘ ‘change’ is inevitable, it is somewhat optional too. (Here I was, attempting to change an idea that was being established.)
My classmates however, were quite content not caring about minor details. Even though they didn’t seem to know what I knew (and wanted to share) understanding the subtleties of English probably would not have made a major difference in their lives. So why did I feel the need to share my insight with them? I suspect it was a somewhat misguided sense of wanting to help by picking out a flaw.
Society teaches us that duty and service are admirable traits and many of us fall into the trap of becoming the policemen of the world at the cost of our own happiness.
I admit I too fell prey to this philosophy even after that incident at school and believed that not speaking up over an injustice was tantamount to being complicit to a wrong doing. But that was before I understood some basics about life and how the laws of the Universe actually work.
Now that I know better, I’m happy to let Law of Attraction take care of everything for me while I do what I ought to have done all along – mind my own business and let others do the same. I don’t believe that focusing on the ‘wrongs’ in the world is necessary to right them.
But I do say that visualising a preferred outcome is the way to go.
Why? Because pushing against something to prove that one is ‘right’ builds undue resistance…. which leads to conflict and angst. And I believe that nothing is really worth sacrificing one’s happiness.
People will discover their own truths (or rather their own path of least resistance) that will serve them better than anything that is offered when they are unwilling to hear another opinion. (‘A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still’)
However, visualising a better outcome in my opinion, is like hitting the reset button. As Dr. Wayne Dyer said, ‘Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change’. Well that’s what happens. Whatever you focus on, tends to expand.
So why not turn the tide on something unwanted and get a preferred outcome instead?
These days I am not as dutiful as I once was but I am a lot more content letting people do what they do. That’s because I am convinced that things are always working out for everyone and people will sooner or later, find solutions that work for them.
This is just my perspective, but it’s not all about me. I’d like to know your thoughts as well, so please feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!
© 2018 G.A.I.L