If I were my own best friend I would tell myself to…
…pause before giving an elephant.
***Have you ever needed help? And help arrived. But it was an elephant. And what you really needed was a monkey or a frog or a ladybug.
It’s hard. I have found myself in a position lately where people keep offering me elephants. Please don’t misunderstand me – the elephant is really really nice. And it’s a huge gesture of kindness. But it’s not really what I need or want.
Elephants are big and they can be messy. And in some ways the elephant just feels like more stress and mess heaped on top of the stress I already have. What I really need is a monkey. But it’s hard to say that to someone who offers you an elephant because you want to be thankful and kind and accept the really big favor they are trying to do for you.
On the flip side of this, I have been guilty of offering elephants as well. I have known people who needed help. And I have been soooo certain I knew exactly what they needed – an elephant of course! I wrapped it up with a big bow and delivered it with a smile. And never thought about what that person might really need or want. Oops.
So I don’t have a clear answer or position for today. Because sometimes you have to accept the elephant to get the monkey you really need. And sometimes you have to establish clear fences and say “no more elephants!” And sometimes you really do need an elephant (but you don’t know it until someone gives you one). So I guess in the end it’s about communication. And really listening and trying to offer help in the way people need it and are able to accept it. And not enforcing your version of help on someone just because you think it’s what they really need.
For my part, I will try my best to only offer elephants to those who need and want them. And the same for monkeys and frogs and ladybugs. Because even though they are smaller, they can still be a bit messy too.