I like my eggs soft-boiled. With the white bits firm and the yoke runny.
My greatest delight in the mornings is to sit down with my giant cup of coffee, and my one or two eggs, and then puncture the yoke with my fork so that it oozes out everywhere and over everything on my plate.
I like my eggs in other ways too: poached, scrambled, fried…. but never EVER hard-boiled. Have you ever seen an egg that has been so hard-boiled that if you had to throw it onto the floor, it would probably bounce? I have.
My sister used to make hard-boiled eggs all the time. The problem was, she would often forget about them simmering on the stove. So when she would finally remember, she would run to the kitchen to ‘save them’.
On a good day the yoke had turned grey.
Sometimes they were blue.
She still ate them.
It was enough to put me off… for life.
I had an egg-bouncing moment the other day: I was chatting to a good friend of mine and I said “you know, you are really amazing.”
Well… let’s just say my compliment was the egg, and she was the floor. The egg could not have bounced fast enough or high enough. She completely dismissed what I said and would not receive it. I told her that she needed to learn how to accept a compliment, because what I had said was true.
She didn’t believe me.
It struck me how often this happens, and how often people in general are unable to see or accept the greatness within themselves. It is so easy for us to see the goodness and greatness in other people, but to see it in ourselves is sometimes difficult.
I like to call it a ‘blind spot’. There is a spot in your peripheral vision where no matter how hard you try, you cannot see it. We need mirrors or other people to help us see it.
It is the same with us and our identities.
We think we know ourselves… but we will actually never know the entirety of who we are, or who we are capable of being, without other people telling us what they see in us. It can be harmful, often destructive and a stunt to our personal growth when those things are kept from us. Our hearts start to harden until… they become hard-boiled.
Because of this, I have a ‘rule’ that I like to apply to my life…. that every person I spend a bit of time with will have to endure listening to me telling them how amazing they are. And not just surface level flattery. No, I mean deep, genuine, specific qualities that I see in them.
In my group of friends, we have developed a culture where we constantly call out the greatness in each other. Our conversations go something like this: “You are such a generous person. You always tip so well and treat the waiters with such respect. That says a lot about your character.” or “You have such an incredible heart. You are going to make such a huge difference in the world.”
And they are not shallow compliments. We really truly mean every word.
It’s looking at life and others from a different perspective: From a perspective of love. When you choose to love everyone that you encounter, you will see them for how they really are, not who they think they are or who life has turned them into.
If every person was told how amazing they are, and in the specific ways that are unique to them and they truly believed it to be true, imagine how different the world would be.
Results from studies in social psychology have shown that people behave in the way in which they perceive themselves to be. If you believe you are worthless, you will behave in a way that will allow others to confirm those thoughts. If you believe you are amazing, it doesn’t mean you are arrogant, it just means that you have confidence in who you are and act in a way that amazing people act – with grace, love and kindness. People who can appreciate their own worth are better able to see worth in others.
If you develop the habit of calling out the wonderful things, qualities and potential you see in others, then a culture will begin to develop around you, and you will see three things begin to happen almost immediately:
1) People will like you. Everyone likes to be around people who make them feel good about themselves.
2) People around you will begin to change. You will see them light up inside, step up to challenges, develop in character, and ultimately become the people they truly are on the inside.
3) You will become the person you have always wanted to be, and were meant to be: Because when you call out the greatness in others, they will do the same for you.
And then the most amazing thing happens… (Consider this the bonus):
You will no longer feel threatened by the greatness you see in others, because you will be so secure within yourself and your own greatness.
Society has tried to tell us: “Protect yourself! Only you can watch out for yourself!”
We get hurt.
We get disappointed.
We harden our hearts for protection…. into hard-boiled eggs – where the yoke (the love) becomes dry and immovable.
Sometimes they are too hard-boiled to receive compliments, then they get too tough to receive or give out love. And the worst kind is when they start to turn grey, blue or green… where nobody really wants a taste of it.
It is scary to let yourself love, to feel and to risk your heart for others. But in my experience, not loving brought the greatest destruction and harm. For a long time I was incapable of feeling emotion or letting myself love anyone for fear of my heart being broken (and I’m talking about love in general, not just romantic love.) But when I allowed myself to heal from previous wounds and let my heart soften and love, I discovered that not only did people respond to me with more love, but also that my capacity to love grew.
Love has a funny way of seeing greatness even in the worst of us and conquering our fears. And when that greatness is called out and believed, people’s hearts do soften and the walls begin to come down…. and the person behind those great big walls begins to come out. We were never meant to keep our hearts, our love, or our thoughts of greatness of others to ourselves.
The thing about soft-boiled eggs that I love the most is poking the yoke with a fork and letting the yoke ooze out and drenching everything on my plate….
I’d like to think that maybe – just maybe – love can do the same.