Category Archives: Valentines Day

Did You Marry A Coffee Table?

You marry someone mostly because you love them – they appeal to you, look good, fit with your tastes and lifestyle –  you want them. Much the same reasons you used when buying a coffee table. You know where they will fit into your home, your style, your image and your dreams.

Once that coffee table is in place, though, if it is a quality table, a good one, one that needs little attention other than the odd wipe or squeeze, doesn’t need to be moved about too much because it fits where it is, perfectly, you probably don’t pay it much attention. It fits it, looks good, gives you pleasure just being there, does what you expect it to do, doesn’t have any features that require repair, and no bits drop off.

After a while – sometimes a long while – you might notice almost by accident that it looks a bit faded. Perhaps it has started to peel, isn’t as shiny, has lost its gloss.  Perhaps it doesn’t fit in quite so well with the rest of your lifestyle – you look at it more closely. The rest of the room has moved on, the walls are a new colour, the floorboards have a new varnish, your tastes have changed a little. What were you thinking when you bought that chintz sofa way back? Chintz? Who does chintz any more? Thank goodness you replaced it with that handsome new brightly coloured modern sofa! Where does this quality but old coffee table fit these days? It has stood where it is for the longest time, has held your coffee cups and plates, your pretentious coffee table books, had stains wiped up, has tolerated the dogs using it as a back scratcher and the cats using it to sharpen their claws, has supported the babies when they cruised the furniture as they became more independent, has blended in with the various morphs of your home, has never mentioned those times when you dumped rubbish on it or kicked it in temper, and has never complained or asked for anything. It was just there, doing what it was expected to do, strong and dignified. Durable.

You take a long look at your table. You can’t remember what it was that you liked about it way back then, can you? Has it always had those great big feet? When did it develop that slight list to one side? Did it really look like this when you brought it home? At what point did it begin to look out of place in your house and start to chip? What to do? It obviously doesn’t fit in any more – it is shabby and too old, it needs repair and looks damaged. Those cups and plates you kept leaving on it have left their mark and isn’t that a crack where you deliberately threw your bag onto it that day when you were tired and irritable?

Well, if you value quality, enjoy reliability,  value trustworthiness, love steadfastness,  perhaps you need to step back and think. That table has been there throughout all the upheavals, the changes, the fads and fancies, the tempers and the frustrations. It bears the scars of your annoyance, and of your carelessness. It is still strong, still there and still yours. It may not be perfect, it may not be as beautiful as it once was, but isn’t that partly because of you? And isn’t imperfection also part of its charm? If it were perfect, perhaps you would also need to try to be perfect, and how would that work out?!

What is it that it needs to be what you want it to be? Some attention? Some loving caresses and nourishment? Some repair and rest? Can you offer it those things? Because if you can, you will be rewarded with a handsome, supportive, reliable, durable, quality table that actually puts your modern new stuff to shame just by being quality and dignified. And administering those remedies could be a joy in itself, part of that healing pathway that you can both savour and enjoy, knowing that when it has finished you both know it will not cease – that you recognise that in fact if you had administered that amount of care in the first place, as a matter of course, there would not be as much damage as there was. True, if the table had been able to tell you it was in need you might have listened; if the table had just once raised a voice to say it was starting to list, starting to deteriorate, you might have heard. But you  might not, and besides, tables don’t talk, and you knew that when you brought it home.  You knew what you had back then, you just forgot over the years.

If you don’t get a move on and give some of that nourishment and care you might find that someone else appreciates the properties in that table that you have forgotten about and finds they have the time and energy to deliver nourishment and affection, and will reap the rewards. If you cast off that table, send it to the second hand shop, or worse, simply allow it to continue to subside, you will have lost a real treasure. And there is little if any possibility that you will replace such a find.

Take another look. Remember. Your old table bears the reminders of happy times and sad times, both of which matter if we are to grow and learn. Nourish what you have and delight in the result.


Are You All Loved Up?

Ah, Valentines Day, or as I prefer to think of it, the day of a massacre. A single day in the year to show someone you care and let you off the hook for the remaining 364. Or to remind you that you don’t have a significant other for whatever reason. Or to enable the school bullies to pick off the vulnerable and lonely. Or give that groping madman in Finance another excuse (just as you thought Christmas was getting safer with the dying out of mistletoe…) to offer faux lurve. Faux moist lurve. Ew. You can probably tell I am not a fan of Valentines Day.

Don’t misunderstand me, I love Love. I enjoy being married (fortunately). The idea of a good cuddle and some frolics is appealing, as it the possibility of a decent meal and a great bottle of wine. But containing it all in one day definitely does not appeal.

Of course, being me I have to point out that this is a bit like only demonstrating good practice on the day of your appraisal. All year you perform badly, fail to meet targets, treat colleagues like poop, slope off early, forget to complete tasks. But the day of your appraisal arrives and you turn up on time, well turned out, smile at colleagues, check your paperwork and expect a good report. Well, no. In Business as in Love, authenticity is all. If you want to create the right environment for positive growth and warmth, want to clinch the deal and ensure future business, nurture and manage your relationships and send the right messages you have to be real and be consistent. If you neglect your core relationships, abuse peoples goodwill and rely on past reputation you will fail, and should not be surprised if you are left behind and loveless.

Everyone has an off day and given an overall pattern of achievement and support that can be overlooked. But without consistent and reliable evidence of good performance and exceptional relationship management the project is doomed to failure. Hello divorce courts. Bye bye repeat business.

Think about your credibility if you value your relationships: demonstrate ability and capability;  nourish those bonds; keep the standards up; strive for better and don’t tolerate less than the best. Don’t save it all up for the one day sales pitch or the appraisal day, or Valentines Day. If you value it, give it the effort and energy it deserves.

And above all – if you aren’t  enjoying it don’t do it. There’s the clue: if you enjoy what you are doing, all the above will be second nature, and if you don’t enjoy it, do something different. Is it an effort to book the restaurant? To complete the tasks? To cuddle? To interact? You may find you are in the wrong job or the wrong relationship.  Both of those things are open to change…………………perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate…?

Happy Valentines Day!!!!!!!!!!

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