This past summer, I went for a job interview at a designer handbag retail store. The interviewer asked me all of the typical questions, and I provided the desired responses. To wrap up the interview, she asked me what my best and worst qualities were. I answered just like everyone else: outgoing, strong work ethic, good at problem solving…the usual. But when it came time to tell her what my worst quality was, I was stumped. Not because I’m perfect, or I don’t have flaws, but I honestly could not think of anything that was relevant to the job she might be hiring me to do. So instead, I went with my worst habit, and I was honest. I told her that I pick my wedgies at completely inappropriate times, and that I’m generally completely unaware that I’m doing it. It’s simply a reflex that comes from fifteen years of wearing a leotard in ballet class. Some people think it’s inappropriate, some people think it’s rude and unlady-like, but honestly, how much better do you feel after picking a good wedgie? I believe that everyone should pick their wedgies.
Now, you can look at my belief one of two ways: either literally or figuratively. That’s up to you. I obviously agree strongly in the literal interpretation of this belief, but I also try to live my life remembering the metaphoric side of this philosophy as well. I remind myself daily, that if there’s a problem in my life, I’ve got to face it. For years I’ve watched others and myself beat around the bush, neglect to acknowledge an issue, and ultimately, end up unhappy. I think that often times, our disregard for present issues come from our mental state. Maybe we’re insecure, or embarrassed, or nervous about how the other person or persons may receive us. And that’s legitimate. But what I’ve learned over the years is that when I stop thinking about myself, and start thinking about the other party or parties involved, I suddenly feel more confident, and the desire to address the issue becomes essential. The Dalai Lama says it so eloquently in his book, Illuminating the Path to Enlightenment. He says “If we think of ourselves as very precious and absolute, our whole mental focus becomes very narrow and limited and even minor problems can seem unbearable… If we switch our mental attitude from concern for our own welfare to that of others, our mind automatically widens and our own problems appear much less important and easier to face.”
My personal philosophy of, tackling issues as they come leads to happiness, has been nineteen years in the making. It’s taken me just about that long to understand the correlation between my passive tendencies and my ultimate happiness. I’ve had relationships crumble, friendships disintegrate, and family that refused to talk to me for days. But all of that has shaped my philosophy, and brought me to a stronger, more confident version of myself. My pessimistic tendencies have given way to optimism, and any fear of confrontation has been nearly eradicated. Everyone can learn and live by this philosophy—teachers, students, boyfriends, girlfriends, politicians…everyone. So, pick your wedgies. Because in the end, it always yields happiness.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.