When we were young, my sister and I used a carafe for our milk. This small black and white ceramic decanter was a souvenir my folks picked up from France. Whenever we had a fancier-than-normal breakfast – the kind where you put milk out on the table but don’t want to put it out in the carton – we put milk in this carafe.
Then one day, somebody outside the family pointed out that our carafe was a Picasso (Little did my parents know they’d bought a mass-produced, but limited edition Picasso. And, like the folk on Antique Road Show, we were stunned to find out this little carafe was worth quite a bit of money.)
Immediately, the carafe got moved from the kitchen and onto a shelf in the living room, where it would begin to collect dust.
We didn’t use it anymore! It was off limits.
Similarly, I have a set of candlesticks that were my paternal grandmother’s, and I use them regularly on Friday nights. I’ve never gotten these candlesticks appraised, because of what happened with the carafe. If I were to find out that they’re a precious antique, I wouldn’t feel comfortable using them or letting my kids touch them. As long as I don’t know the real “value” of these silver candlesticks, I will continue using and enjoying them.
How often do we let other people determine the value of something important to us?
Ponder that for a while.
- Do you value things on the basis of how much joy they give you?
- Do you value things based on others’ appraisal of them?
- How much do you let someone else’s valuation affect your experience?
- To what extent do we let someone else tell us OUR own value and worth?
Marcus Aurelius speaks to this theme:
“I often marvel that while each man loves himself more than anyone else, he sets less value on his own estimate than the opinion of others.”
This week’s spiritual-religious advice:
Value yourself and your valuation of your experience above what anyone else has to say.