I dropped my younger brother when he was two.
Actually, I didn’t really drop him. I just placed him in a position that made it convenient for him to collide with the floor.
It really wasn’t my fault how everything happened. Honestly.
For one thing, he was a high maintenance kid.
He was that kid that would cry nonstop for four hours. Yes, that kid.
One day, I made the discovery of a lifetime.
I found out that if I danced with a throw pillow on my head and pretended to cry when the pillow fell off, my brother would stop crying. If I did it two or three times in a row, he would actually start laughing uncontrollably.
Don’t ask me the level of desperation that would cause a person to even try this in the first place. Like I said, he was a high maintenance kid.
On this particular day, he was really deep into one of his crying vendettas.
So I got into position.
I put a throw pillow on my head and started dancing.
As per my usual routine, I allowed the pillow to fall from my head and started fake crying.
My little brother chuckled, then he began to laugh, and then everything went south – literally.
You see, in my eagerness to get him to stop crying, I had placed him on the edge of the dining table. Being a true son of his father, my brother doesn’t just laugh like a regular person. He has to throw his head back and hold his belly while he’s at it.
This is okay if you’re sitting on a couch.
Not okay if you’re sitting on the edge of a dining table.
My poor little brother laughed so hard that he fell right off the table…backwards.
When he hit the ground, he went silent for about five seconds.
I used that opportunity to imagine all the different ways that my mother was going to kill me. He was just two years old. I don’t think she was quite ready to make another baby if I broke this one.
I ran to him and looked him over.
He was okay.
More importantly, there were no bruises or scrapes. This meant that there was the possibility of my mom never finding out about the situation.
The keyword here is possibility.
I asked my brother not to say anything to my mom and he agreed. Several times throughout the afternoon, I reminded him of our agreement. I made sure he was sufficiently bribed with all his favorite foods. He was basically royalty for the afternoon.
By the time I heard my mom’s car pull up outside, I was feeling pretty confident that I had covered my tracks.
Oh, the innocence of youth.
The minute my brother heard my mom’s car outside, he ran to meet her.
I didn’t think anything of it because this was his usual way of welcoming my mom home. She would see him coming, hug him, and ask how he was doing. It was their little daily ritual.
This particular day was different though.
Before my mom even had a chance to hug or say a word to him, the cat was already out of the bag.
Skillfully ignoring my desperate attempts for eye contact, my little brother told my mom everything that happened.
You can imagine the rest.
Give Yourself a Chance to Live with Passion
I remembered this story today because many of us want to live with passion but we hold back.
We don’t always do the things that we want to do or say the things that we want to say.
We intend to live with passion but our words (and consequently our actions) aren’t reflecting this intention.
For some of us, it’s because we don’t want to be misunderstood. We don’t want to offend people. We don’t want to appear emotional or unprofessional. We wonder, “What people would think?”
Basically, we allow other people’s opinions to control how we think and what we say.
When I told my younger brother not to share what happened with my mom, it wasn’t because I had his best interest in mind.
I did it to save my own skin.
I did it because I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable. I did not want to be confronted about my actions.
It’s the same way in life.
People’s opinions are usually based in self-interest.
This is why it’s impossible to live passionately while allowing other people’s opinions to control your thoughts and words.
Whenever somebody (or their opinion) tries to prevent you from expressing something that’s important to you, it’s rarely in your best interest.
All it does is rob you of the chance to live passionately in a manner that is true to you.
So if you have something to say, and it’s really important to you, then say it.
But, by golly, never allow anyone make you think that what you have to say is not worth saying.