When I was about 16 years old, my dad took my sister and I for a ski holiday in Whistler, BC. Although I was happy to be on vacation, I was also a self-absorbed little shit who was overly critical of pretty much everyone and everything. And as ashamed as I am to admit this – my dad more often than not took the brunt of my criticism. I didn’t like the way he snored, the way he clinked his spoon on the bowl when he ate his cereal, the way he breathed so darn loudly and on and on and on.
One morning as he and I rode the chair lift alone together I shot yet another barb his way (probably about the way he obnoxiously knocked the snow off of his skis for heaven’s sake!) he had had enough. He turned to me and said “Lori, you really have to stop being so critical. It seems like you are constantly annoyed with me and it really upsets me. I know I have flaws but so do you. There are always going to be people and circumstances in your life that are challenging for you to deal with and you can’t control that. You can only control yourself and how you react – and you definitely need some work in that department! No one is perfect Lori and if you wait around for your friends and family to BE perfect… then you are going to end up a very lonely person.”
Needless to say the rest of the ride up the hill was very quiet. I think I stammered out a sheepish apology and silently vowed to keep my opinions to myself for the rest of the trip.
My point in sharing this story is not to offer insight into my angsty teenage years or to expound on my dad’s pearls of wisdom- but rather to share what I did after that chair lift ride and how it changed my life from that day forward. I listened. I really listened. I heard what he said and I let the lesson sink in. And although I certainly haven’t nailed it, becoming a less-critical, less-judgemental and more compassionate person was something I intentionally began to work towards starting on that crisp winter morning.
My sister and I were chatting recently about the most important things we have learned over the years and how they have impacted the people we are today. I shared the story from our Whistler trip (she had no idea it happened at the time) and she said she believes this is the key to life. At every age and at every stage there are lessons to be learned, new ideas to be shared, insights to be uncovered and wisdom to be gleaned- and if we can temper the “critical/all-knowing/judgmental/negative/too-busy” response that automatically pops up- we can continue to learn and grow and change and evolve for the rest of our lives.
Yes I have an opinion on that subject – but might there be another way to think about it?
I actually hadn’t thought of it that way before. How interesting!
I would love to read that book/watch that documentary/attend that class/go to that event with you. Thanks so much for introducing me to new things.
Wow! I didn’t realize that about myself. Thank you for sharing.
Perhaps I was completely wrong. I need to do more research.
I didn’t know about that. Can you tell me more?
2014 was a year of many powerful lessons for me – some of them I was more open to than others if I’m being completely honest. It takes quite a large dose of bravery and vulnerability to be truly open-hearted and I can use some work in those departments too.
But here we are in a shiny new year and I’ve decided to opt out of the typical resolutions and instead to focus on what I can learn in 2015. In fact, I was ruminating on this idea at the grocery store recently when an older man tapped me on the shoulder. “Excuse me are you ok?” he asked. “You have the most worried look on your face!” Ah yes, the patented “Lori-Wilson-I’m-Currently-Carrying-The-Weight-Of-The-World-On-My-Shoulders” look. Relax Lori, smile, breath and release those crinkles from your forehead. Thank you kind stranger for the lesson- I’m working on that one too!
Happy New Year to all of my family, friends and followers! Let’s all open up and let the lessons in this year. Who’s with me?
15 thoughts on “Resolution 2015 – Letting The Lessons In”
HAPPY NEW YEAR Lori… Thanks for your blog. And for being on the planet, and being real.
Keep it coming. You’re a shining example for me, and I suspect many, many others!!
Thanks so much Diane for your friendship and support! I really appreciate your kind words! Looking forward to seeing you and Jarrett soon – Happy New Year to you both!
What an awesome lesson for your Dad and by doing that he was also standing up for himself and addressing the problem head on, which is another good lesson. What a kind man in the store! It can be a difficult balance having enough attitude to survive and have respect for yourself but not too much that it’s over critical or pessimistic. Some great ideas there :0)
Thank you for weighing in. It was very brave of my dad to stand up for himself in the face of such an over-critical child. I’m glad he did it because it was a turning point for me!
Happy New Year!
I don’t think you were over critical, just being a regular teen. My Dad didn’t tell me off enough so I thought it was pretty cool. Sorry I ‘weighed in’ I was just responding to your post chuck xx
That’s a very powerful message, Lori! Good for you for being so honest about it. I could work on attitude adjustment too:) Love, Mom
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Thanks for always sharing your thoughts and comments mom! I really appreciate it! (I got quite a few lessons from you too btw ; )
Very good story and lesson!!
I love reading your blog Lori!!
You are a great writer and a great person!’
Your father is also a very wise man and he took me on a ski trip once too!
Our story was on the ski lift also. Ask hom about it sonetime, hell chuckle i am sure even though it was not funny at the time! Lol
Thanks so much for commenting Kevin! And yes I do remember hearing the stories about your memorable ski trip with dad : ) I’m pretty sure he is still laughing about it! Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family!
Oh boy, do I ever recognize myself in this blog. Yep, I remember the cranky criticism that I felt so compelled to share all the time with the people who cared most about me. Perhaps that is the major downside of youth – the absence of wisdom? And yes, I get that same hyper-critical, overly judgemental feeling every once in a while as an adult. I believe that we work on controlling this tendency forever, Thank you for the reminder! Happy 2015, Lori!
Oh yah – having 3 kids I often recognize myself when they share their (ahem) thoughtful criticisms of my many flaws! And me too – i am still working on my inner critic all the time. Thanks for being such a thoughtful commentator on my blog – I truly appreciate it! Happy New Year to you and Roman!
such an important reminder Lori! I am with you!!
Yay! I knew you would be : ) Happy New Year!
Lori, you are so courageous to share this memory and so lucky to have such great parents. We all have those memories of parents who could do nothing right at a certain point in our youth and I admire your ability to share. Wishing you and all those you love a happy, healthy 2015.
Thanks as always Connie for checking in! I love to see your thoughtful comments. Happy and healthy New Year to you as well!