Paper or China?

In our last podcast I brought up the metaphor of how our tolerance level is like a plate. Surely you have heard the expression “I have a lot on my plate.” What about the size of our plate? What about the integrity of our plate? Is it big or small? Is it Paper or fine China? This concept is much like any other that I have brought up. Basically we are all different in what we can tolerate, manage, or handle.

Some of us have a paper plate that may be like a Dixie plate which is reinforced with wax but still unable to be loaded down repeatedly. Because as portions are loaded onto our paper plate it degrades. It becomes flimsy and items will spill over. Some paper plates are single use. So they must be replaced more often. (Think of replacement as that time where we must rest and recharge.) Constantly loading task after task, responsibility after responsibility will inevitably destroy our plate (and us).

Some folks have a plate that is fine China. It is sturdy and beautiful. But it must be hand washed and cared for in a specific way. It can be a dinner plate which holds a lot. It can be a dessert or bread plate which can only securely hold a small amount at a time. The thing with fine China is that even though it is beautiful and strong; it is delicate. One bad bump, one strategic hit and the whole thing will shatter into pieces that must be cleaned up before we can find a new China plate that will do the job we are accustom to it doing.

Others have stoneware plates. These plates are full of whimsy (whimsy seems to be my word for this month) and fun. They are strong, they can take a beating and still they do the job. Stoneware plates sometimes get chipped and need to be replaced. But some of us still use them and run the risk of getting becoming ill. If someone has chipped our plate and we fail to replace it everyone around us can suffer. Because when our plate needs to be replaced we may become angry or tired. We can lack understanding with it comes to others. When we rest our plate with be replaced. It is only then that we can hope to handle the tasks that be pile on our plates.

One thing to remember for yourself and others is that your plates might be different. You might have a stoneware plate that can take on a lot while your friend, coworker or employee may have a paper plate. This means that they may need to decompress rest and/or relax more than you. So avoid judgement. And remember just because your plate is strong, big and has withstood many helpings of responsibility and tasks it still needs to be washed or even replaced from time to time.

In your day to day life consider what is good for you and take care of you. Remember that what works for you may not work for someone else. Because we are all a product of our genetic code AND environment. It is different for each of us—even identical twins. So if you are able to be other oriented it may help you get along, stop being judgmental, or critical. Because our plate is strong (or weak) does not mean that someone else’s is the same. Work on the best you by understanding that we all need to rest and decompress—some need it more often than others.


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