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End of Week Thoughts on Barking Pigs

July 23, 2010

I really want a pot bellied pig.

They are so cute!

Maybe one day….

However, this is not what has been on my mind lately. I’ve been reading a book called You matter more than you think by dr. Leslie Parrott. She writes from her own experiences in trying to find meaning in the different pieces of her life. She is a psychologist and teaches on marriage together with her husband Les Parrott. This book, however, is about her own personal journey as a woman with a desire to make a difference and looking at her life to see where she already is. It’s a gentle, encouraging book that has been helping me reflect on my own life as I’ve been reading bits and pieces of it over the last year.

This is where the barking pig comes in. Chapter 20 is called Barking Pig and Leslie tells the story of little Norman who didn’t really fit in with his classmates. When his kindergarten class put on a production of Cinderella, he was asked what part he wanted to play. He decided to be the pig. When told there was no pig in Cinderella, he answered: “Well, there is now.”

In his role as pig, Norman followed Cinderella around throughout the whole story and reflected her emotional state in his facial expressions. As a final twist, the pig finished the story by standing on his hind legs and bark. When Norman was told pigs don’t bark, his answer was: “Well, this one does.” The pig became an important and popular part of this Cinderella production. Norman had successfully created a space for himself by creating his own role and using this powerful phrase: “Well, there is now.”

It’s a great story, right? It’s such a good reminder of our own power in creating our role in life.

It also got me thinking a little bit about my own story of myself. It can be such a temptation to have fixed ideas about who I am, and sometimes these need to be challenged in order to make changes in life. I thought of the changes in self-perception I’ve made in the past.

“I could never work at a fast-food restaurant.” “Well, I can now.” (Thankfully, this was short-lived.)

“I am not the kind of person who could work a job in the hospitality industry.” “Well, I am now” (Hopefully, not forever.)

“I am not rude.” “Well, I am now” (It happens when you work in hospitality, believe me. Not that it’s how I like to be.)

“I could not work with teenagers.” “Well, I can now.” (And now that I don’t anymore, I miss it sometimes.)

These are all things that I’ve believed about myself at some point in time. Shaking things up can be quite liberating. Even the fact that my belief that I was not rude has been challenged – and now that I’ve gotten in touch with that side of me that can respond rudely (in tone more than anything) at times to impatient people, I think there is an upside to it. It may not be pretty, yet it’s liberating in a sense to get to know this about myself and also to know that, hey, I am not always nice and maybe I don’t need to be. Not that I think that being rude is the solution. Yet, coming face to face with this side of me has made me more of a fully formed person I think.

Now, in a more positive context, I think that with any life changes it can be important to challenge beliefs about yourself if they are what keeps you from moving forward. It has been my intention to bring more creativity into my life over the past year and one of small beliefs I held and challenged by taking action was:

“I am not the kind of person who paints furniture and does DIY projects around the house.” “Well, now I am.” ( I’ve discovered I really enjoy painting furniture)

“I don’t have anything to say.” “Well, now I do.” (And I started a blog)

I can’t wait to see what other beliefs I hold about myself that will be challenged over the next year.

Is there any situation in life where you need to create your own role and could make space for yourself by declaring: “Well, there is now.”
Do you hold any beliefs about yourself that might hold you back from trying anything new?


Image credit: be_khe via her Flickr photostream
Text on photo added by me

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 25, 2010 2:25 am

    great post. i love that we can change our story whenever we decide to! :)

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