For my first Blog ever, I would like to share two stories that I have found useful in difficult situations that I have encountered in therapy sessions from time to time. Those difficult times where I want move between acceptance and change, to elicit some movement, to get unstuck, where what I have been trying has not worked etc.
Apart from the phrase: Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? These stories have also helped me through.
Life Is Like A Cup Of Coffee
A group of alumni, who were very successful in their careers, decided to get together to visit their old university professor. After they all reunited, the conversation of the alumni soon turned into complaints about work, relationships and life.
Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the coffee.
When all of his old students had a cup of coffee in hand, they sat down together and the professor said: “If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups have been taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is, of course normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that can also be the source of much of your dissatisfaction, problems and stress.
It’s important to know that the cup itself adds no real quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just chosen because it’s perceived to be more special or expensive. What all of you really wanted was experience of the coffee, not the cup, but you unconsciously went for the best cups. Some of you tried to get the best cup first or began eyeing each other’s cups to see if yours was nice enough.
Now consider this: Life is a bit like the cup of coffee; the jobs, money possessions and position in society are the cups. They are just tools and structures that contain or hold together the current story of your life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live.
Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee. Here is my advice to you – Savor the coffee, not the cups! What you really want is to be happy and the happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.
Warning: sometimes we realize that we have had enough coffee and would like to try tea!
Another is the ‘Story Of The Hedgehogs’:
It was the coldest winter ever. Many animals died because of the cold.
The hedgehogs, realizing the situation, decided to group together to keep warm. This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions.
After a while, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth.
Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. They learned to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationship with their companions in order to receive the heat that came from the others. This way they were able to survive.
The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person’s good qualities. (Author unknown)
Or in some cases: the morale of the story may be to just to be able to put up with the difficult peoplein our lives? Being radically genuine can sometimes be helpful.
The use of stories and metaphors can be useful and can remind us of what really matters: that we are all connected in some way. I impact on others and others impact on me.
Placement Provider/Supervisor LDPRT Alumni