“You don’t have to catch every ball that’s thrown to you.” A line repeated to me by a mentor as I navigated my mother’s impossible, never-ending anger and disappointment. I thought it was disappointment in me but in truth it was much bigger. It was disappointment in life, and people, and just about everything. She would throw these big emotions in my direction nearly daily.
Truth be told I can hardly catch a real ball. I’ve got no hand-eye coordination. But I naturally catch other people’s feelings and their moods. It’s useful occasionally. It helps me read a room. Be a good coach. Be a good friend. But only when I’m clear that I’m getting knowledge and information but that it does not belong to me.
And then there are the times where things are deliberately thrown to me in anger or frustration or disagreement. Those balls are also information. And I get to decide what to do with them. Do I absorb and metabolize them? Do I toss them back? Do I just let them land on the ground?
Again, I get to decide. And so do you.
What do you want to catch today? A child’s wonder? A big laugh? What do you want to do with the rest?