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Crying over the cookies you don't have?

Do you cry over the cookies you don’t have?


As a child, I spent summer vacations with my grandparents in the mountains of Tennessee, and my grandmother would often make batches of oatmeal cookies. I loved oatmeal cookies!


I remember the following drama, repeated many times, with Boog, my grandfather, and Beebe, my grandmother.


“Beebe, may I have some oatmeal cookies?” I asked.

“Sure, you may have two before dinner,” she replied.

After quickly devouring the two cookies, I would ask, “May I have some more cookies?”

She would reply, “You may have more after dinner.”

I would then start to argue with her and I would end up crying when she persisted in saying “no.”


At this point, Boog would chime in and say, “You’re crying because you had cookies!” At the time, I did not appreciate the wisdom of his response. In fact, it was so infuriatingly logical that it annoyed me.


Our "standards," our idea of what's "fair" or believing "I should get what I want" mess up our life

But how often do we cut off our noses to spite our faces by “crying because we had cookies”?

Or, in an even more common scenario, how often do we miss out in life by not taking the cookies we could have because we focus on other cookies that we can’t have?


  • Have you ever not started a project because you couldn’t do your best at it?

  • Have you ever not invited a girl or boy out because they were not your first choice?

  • Have you ever not gone for a better job because it wasn’t your real passion?

  • Have you ever not spoken up about your feelings because you couldn’t express them perfectly?

  • Have you ever not started a great relationship because you knew it would not be forever?

  • Have you ever not started a great relationship because you knew you would not be the only one?

  • Have you ever not been fully present with someone because you’re waiting to be with someone else better?


How our "shoulding" robs us of what we could have

Our insistence on perfection, on having everything we want, on maintaining our standards, on following our rules, on making sure things are fair diminishes our aliveness, clogs up the momentum of our lives, and generally makes us rigid and inflexible.


Consider that waiting on perfection, insisting on having everything you want, maintaining your standards, always following your rules, and making sure things are fair are just different ways of trying to feel safe and more comfortable.


To take a risk with what we could have, to put all our heart into what is before us, to live our life now, this is a choice of courage, again and again and again.

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