Saturday, 13 February 2016

Which One Is The Salad Fork?

I for one believe that if you’re going to commit a faux pas, then do it with flair!

Have you ever been in an environment where you felt you were way out of your depth? When everything coming out of your mouth did not seem to resonate with those around you? When they appear savvier and more sophisticated than you are? If like me, you have, then you will know that it can be the most uncomfortable place to be.

Before I get to my point, let me give you a little scenario. You are invited to a part. For argument’s sake, let’s say by your rather ‘posh’ boyfriend or indeed friend. Then you start to socialise. You are introduced to the cream of the society. You discover that everyone around you seem to be well-travelled, well off, and well-educated. You are all speaking English, French, Shona, Ndebele (etc.) but your language is different, if you catch my drift. They are talking about stocks, their latest adventure in the Alps or Mt Everest, what they thought about Toni Morrison’s latest book, their corporate job, their favourite designer. I am sure you can think of many more examples. Then someone asks you a question – ‘What do you do?’ When is your next adventure? Or which countries have your travelled? What/who are you wearing?
So, how do you grace your way through the interaction? How do you remain classy and charming when you know you seem to be way out of your depth? When everyone around you seem to have it going on? Well, here are my suggestions:

1.    Always wear a cheerful, welcoming face. Make people want to come over and talk to you.

2.    Those oops moments? Laugh them off. Do not take things personally.

3.    Being social is about making others feel comfortable around you. People shouldn’t have to tip-toe around you just because you don’t feel confident about yourself. Remain charming and gracious. Embrace other people just as they are. Just be cool.

4.    It’s trite but I will say it anyway. Be yourself. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. If you don’t know something, then you don’t know. No one is going to shoot you for it. Pretending to know while making a fool of yourself will make you look like a complete moron. Which brings me to my next point-

5.    Ask questions to show your interest. You will be surprised what you will come out knowing. If people see how genuine you are, they will respect you for it.

6.    Given the chance, show/tell them what you know. You may just be surprised by the reaction you get. You may even make new friends. You may not be well-read, not have travelled as much, but there are certain areas of life that you excel in. Highlight those, but not in an imposing manner.

7.    Compliment other people. Beware of that green-eyed monster. Enough said!

So there, you have it. If you ever find yourself in a tight spot, know that you have it within you to be classy, graceful, charming and beautiful. Both inside and out. You can still wow them, with the little that you think you know. You just have to know how to work it!

Saturday, 6 February 2016

To Err Is Human....

"Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or to lose." L.B Johnson.

What is done is done. No one is perfect. We all have flaws. Some more than others. We flounder. We fall. But it is in the way in which we rise that we are truly defined. As trite as that sounds, it is also very true. If you are like me then you've probably made a mistake or two in your life. You've hurt someone, erred in judgement, allowed a situation to drag on unnecessarily, perhaps taken a wrong turn in your journey. Whatever. Then one day it hits you. You realise what you've done. Perhaps, someone alerts you, gives you a little nudge or a kick in the you know what, to make you realise. To open your eyes. You finally come to your senses and realise the extent of your blunders.You messed up! Maybe by this time you've lost friends, family and all that you care about. Then panic, embarrassment, fear and contrition follow. You beat yourself up for it. It is only natural. No one is immune. And then there are those who won't let you forget it. They play on your weakened emotions, reminding you what a complete fool you've been. How wrong you've been. They thrive on your vulnerability and bring you further and further down into the doldrums. But I am here to tell you that it does not have to be like that. 

Take a step back. Take time for silence and reflection. Acknowledge that a mistake(s) was made. Embrace the ugliness of the situation if it is that ugly. It is the season you are in. You may even have to bear the consequences. That's okay. With every action comes consequences. Ride the tide with courage and dignity. 

We, as humans are not infallible. We are weak and can easily be influenced. We are prone to be led astray by our thoughts, our feelings or indeed by other forces beyond our comprehension. The consequences we have to bear are what grows us. Contribute to our understanding of self, others and the world around us. This way we become better, stronger and wiser beings. But only if we are willing to learn from our mistakes. To bounce back from this setback. Because that is all it is. A setback, though caused by you. Life doesn't have to end because you're having a bad day, a bad week or month.

So if you've ever made a mistake in your life, done something you shouldn't, said something or made a wrong turn, know that it is okay. What is done is done. You cannot undo your wrongs but you can work/improve to put things right. And if it’s too late to put things right, then deal with the consequences with grace and dignity. But most importantly, realise that you too, just like everyone else, deserve a second chance. To wipe the slate clean. Do not allow anyone or your past wrongs to hold you hostage. 

Forgive yourself and move on.