The PERM or Life Lessons from a Hairdo


The Hairdo


My first year in graduate school, just before I went back home for Christmas, I got a perm. And it wasn’t just a perm—it was the perm, the ‘70’s perm. I loved it, and I loved how I looked in my curly new hair. I was hip, with it, so cool, and definitely on trend. I was really proud of my hair.

We gathered at my great-aunt Corda’s house. She had a lovely home, with lots of space for all the family. When Johnnie, another great-aunt, arrived, she took one look at me and gasped harshly. “What did you do to your hair?”

That was not the response I expected—or wanted. What did I do to my hair? I had spent a lot of time and effort to get this perm and my curly hair, and I was shocked that she didn’t love it as much as I did. After all, my curly hair was so hip, so cool, so trendy. And I was so disappointed she didn’t like it. It ruined the day for me.

When great-aunt Johnnie left, I told Corda of my disappointment. I expected her to comfort me, to tell me that my hair was lovely…but she simply said, “That’s just Johnnie. That’s just who she is.”

I was taken aback. Corda wasn’t incensed about Johnnie’s response to my hair. She wasn’t even surprised. “That’s just Johnnie. That’s just who she is.”

When I recovered from Corda’s response to me, I realized that she was right. That’s just who Johnnie is. There was no reason to expect Johnnie to be anything, or anyone, else.

When I understood what Corda was saying, I felt a sense of relief—and a sense of liberation. My disappointment wasn’t about what Johnnie had said. My disappointment came from my expectation that Johnnie would respond in a certain way—a way that Corda had reminded me was not really the way Johnnie responded to the world.

That made what Johnnie said less about me, and more about her. That made me realize that it was my expectation of what Johnnie should say that had upset and disappointed me. Would I have liked her to love my hairstyle as much as I did? Sure. But when she didn’t, Corda’s reminder helped me trade my expectation for acceptance.

Learning this was not only liberating to me in my relationship with my great-aunt, it was also liberating for me in my other relationships. That is the gift—acceptance.

Learning to accept things, and people, as they are liberates us from the struggle to make those people and things what we want them to be. Beginning to accept things as they are—whether that’s grief, disappointment, or anger—frees us from our struggle and liberates us to accept things as they are right now.

And that is a gift.

A Moment with SADI

Check in with SADI, your personal Self Assessment Development Instrument. There is a scale for accepting-judging. What’s your level of acceptance right now? Take a moment to notice where you are on this scale. Are you more accepting or more judging about what’s happening in your life now?

Click on SADI . The judging/accepting slider is the 5th one down.  Feel free to make note of the other scales while you're there. Note your current level of accepting (or judging) by moving the toggle found in the middle of the line to where you figure you are at the moment. Record your self-observation. Come back to this scale often during the week, and note where you are upon your return.acceptance

Posted in acceptance, anxiety, inspiration, judgement, self-help on 01/12/2016 04:05 pm

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.


Evoke the best out of YOUR me.

Keep in touch to receive Tina's tactics and strategies for exquisite self-care.

Simple Share Buttons
Simple Share Buttons