The power of suggestion

If somebody tells you that you look tired, are you tired?

Don’t you hate when that happens? You go out feeling pretty good, and somebody says, “Boy, you look exhausted!” Suddenly you’re looking at yourself in your little compact mirror, blotting cover-up over those newly discovered dark circles under your eyes, even feeling a bit lethargic.

Why can’t people just keep their mouths shut? Do we need to feel tired when we were on our way to a lively and successful day? Do we need to wonder whether other people are viewing us as tired, worn out, sluggish?

How about this:

“You look great!”

“Did you lose weight?”

“Where did you get those jeans? They look fabulous on you!”

My father always said, “If you don’t have something nice to say don’t say anything at all.”  I find myself telling this to my children all the time (scary how we become parrots of our parents — spewing out all those sayings that we couldn’t stand hearing ourselves when we were younger).

I agree with my dad though.  Who needs to hear something negative, especially when they haven’t asked for your opinion? I told my friend to dye her hair the other day and she doesn’t want to.  It’s really none of my business if she wants grey hair, is it? I was trying to be helpful as she is hoping to meet a man, but who am I to say that a man would prefer her with gorgeous blonde or brunette tresses to a headful of grey? Who made me the expert on men’s hair preferences? Why did I tell her to dye her hair and then drag her to a wig shop? Just because I think that’s fun doesn’t mean that she was amused (she wasn’t).

White lies? Why not? Where do we draw the line between being honest and really trying to help our friends and relatives and zipping our lips? I must say that I don’t always have the answers, though I try to be honest yet respectful.  I know how strongly I can be impacted by someone telling me something that they perceive about myself that I hadn’t even considered.

Who knows us better than we know ourselves?


About mallorylayne

midlife mom seeking meaning for the rest of her life.
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