In Praise of (a touch of) Gullibility
The other day I was talking with a friend. He was showing me some photos of the dog he is looking after while her owner deals with a very heavy work schedule. Let me tell you that this is one adorable dog, almost as cute as mine, so I was enjoying looking at the pics. Then my friend asked if I wanted to see a photo of his pet lemur. “You have a lemur? Sure, I’d love to see that.” I replied. He proceeded to show me a picture, taken at night of this creature. It looked really cool and I said so. As the words left my mouth I could literally feel my brain kick in saying, “Omkari, you are so gullible” at the same time that he burst out laughing. It wasn’t a lemur, it was the dog, at night with its eyes glowing in the flash of the camera and its shape obscured by the darkness. And yes, it is true, I have a strong streak of gullibility, always have.
When I was a kid my dad would say something outrageous and I would believe him every time for the five-seconds before rational thought returned. It used to drive me crazy that I was so gullible but now I like it. I like it because I think that quality is connected to the part of me, to the part of all of us, that is still the trusting child that accepts that amazing things are possible.
The part of me that accepted that I was looking at a lemur is the same part that that moves through the world expecting people to be kind, good, and true. Of course that doesn’t always turn out to be the case, and that can hurt, but on balance I still prefer to live with that expectation.
I believe that most of us have some quality in our character that keeps us connected to the child that we once were, the child who believed in hope, magical possibilities, and love. For me that is my gullibility. What is that quality for you?
Often we try to distance ourselves from who we were as children. I think keeping a part of the self we were as a child close to us throughout our life helps us to keep living with a greater experience of joy. Staying in touch with that part of us that knew nothing of how challenging life could, and likely would, be means that we can still connect to our most open, trusting, and loving self; and to our dreams.
I think that a touch of gullibility keeps us from becoming hard and cynical in a world that gives us little reason to be otherwise.
That I apparently wear a tee shirt (visible to all but me) that says, “I’m gullible, pull my leg and see for yourself” is fine with me. It keeps me connected to the little girl I was, keeps me appropriately humble, plus I amuse my friends. I am certain that "lemur" will come up in conversation at some point, apropos of nothing, just as an excuse to laugh. And really, what more could I ask for?
So whatever your quality is, celebrate it. We aren’t on this earth to be flawless, we are here to be our authentic self, with all the layers that make up that self, and the ride is a whole lot more fun when we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
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