I believe Autumn is going to be short-lived in middle Missouri this year. Many of the trees showed their colors last weekend and are already dropping their leaves. A really good rain and some wind, and it will all be a memory.
On my quest to find Autumn color, I thought about how and when people show their true colors. True colors usually are revealed during times of great adversity. That’s when you see what a person’s character is really made of; whether their core is bright and beautiful, or dark and ugly.
I believe one of the most destructive phrases we can tell someone is do what you need to do to make yourself happy. Really? So if I crawled inside a bottle every night because it made me happier to forget my worries, that would be okay? If I decided to up and quit my job because it doesn’t make me happy, would that be okay if mine was the only paycheck supporting the family? If buying a luxury sports car would make me happy, should I do it even though I can’t afford it? Our culture doesn’t lack for advice on how to be happy. Just ask Google; she’ll tell you a million ways to make yourself happy.
Here’s a novel idea. If everyone were more concerned about making others happy instead of themselves, we’d all be happier. It’s the philosophy of Givers Gain. But that requires people to focus on something other than their own angst. Probably not a trend that will catch on anytime soon. Most of us are pretty self-centered creatures. We love to think everyone and everything should revolve around us and how we feel.
Do what’s best for you is another phrase people throw around when asked for advice. It’s usually said because we don’t really want to get involved in someone else’s drama. We don’t want to risk offending them by saying something they don’t want to hear…even when it’s the truth. How many lives have been destroyed by someone doing what’s best for self preservation?
True colors. Yes, they come on strong with this mindset. And pride is usually a driving factor. When you can’t swallow your pride, actions can always be justified by saying you’re doing what’s best for you and leave it at that. This mindset absolves us from any further responsibility for working things out.
People hide parts of themselves all the time. But just like these Autumn leaves, when the temperature begins to fluctuate, characteristics begin to show that might never have been noticed before. And it’s either stunningly beautiful or hideously ugly. As Phil Collins so eloquently put it; I see your true colors shining through. Hard as we try to hide them, there’s no stopping them once they begin to show.
Most of the time, true colors are revealed through actions, rather than words. Actions are how we expresses our inner thoughts. Actions defines us. That’s not to say we all don’t lapse in good judgment from time to time. But our true measure (or colors) are seen in the actions and behaviors we do when trying to make amends for something we’ve done wrong…and how the wronged party responds to those actions reveals their true colors as well.
We never see a person’s true colors until we watch how they react when their life is falling apart. People prove who they really are not when life is trouble-free, but when life becomes challenging. All it takes is a little pressure to bring out those true colors for everyone to see.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience,
but where he stands in times challenge and controversy.
~Martin Luther King
What are your true colors?