My 40th birthday dinner party was one of the best nights of my life. The hydrangeas covered the table. The lighting was soft enough to hide unwanted wrinkles and bright enough to illuminate the smiles on my friend’s faces across the table. The music played gently, but just loud enough that we intermittently noticed the playlist filled with 10 years of my most favorite songs.
Most of all, the night was perfect because everyone clicked. No awkward conversations or aggressive debates. Only calm, magical conversations that flowed flawlessly hour after hour.
I used to think there was something in the air that contributed to nights like my 40th. Now, I think it is more than magic that makes for a great night; it is knowing how to invite the right guests.
Who’s at your Dinner Party?
My 40th was amazing because everyone came with their best self. No, my friends don’t have multiple personality disorder. But let’s face it – each of us has different components that make us who we are and some parts are less desirable than others, especially when unleashed in the wrong moments.
Here’s what I mean. If I think of my personality as characters at a dinner party, then my table is made up of: the problem solver, the helper, the mother, the writer, the truth seeker…. and the child, the prostitute, the saboteur, and the victim.
Who’s at your table? Who are the characters that make up your personality? If you think of yourself as a handful of personality traits and then think of each part as a person, who would they be?
Amongst the loud ramblings at my table, there is one voice that matters the most, the host. At the head of the table, often quietly observing, is the host. The host is me.
Unsure who you are at your table? Think of a part of your personality. Then, ask, “who is observing that part?” The observer is your true self, higher self, authentic self. The host.
“I” walk around in the world with my higher self and my dinner party composed of some friends and those uninvited guest that can’t take a hint and often speak out of turn: victim, child, saboteur, and prostitute.
My job is to continuously design the perfect dinner party for each moment of my life.
For example, the problem solver is really annoying to invite to a heartfelt moment between best of friends sharing deep vulnerabilities. I need to distract the problem solver by sending her to the store for more limes in those moments.
The truth seeker is really annoying to invite out on a day of errands. Reading into the dry cleaner, the grocery store, or a target run is just exhausting. Yes, Whole Foods is expensive and food costs should be lower, but sometimes a person just needs quiet time on a Saturday morning.
My point is this: think about who you want to bring to your life’s dinner parties.
The higher self, your true self, is always invited.
My inner child can certainly destroy a situation that my problem solver could get around or my victim can waste a tremendous amount of time that my truth seeker would move past with lightening speed.
Sadly, an uninvited guest can really ruin a perfectly good night, but you do your best to manage the damage caused. And certainly, you don’t intentionally invite him back.
How to Manage Your Guest List
I really resent it when someone hijacks a great moment with a tales of victimization or childish antics, but I dislike it more when I am responsible for that inappropriate rambling or a bad attitude.
What do you do when your night is hijacked?
Say you planned the perfect evening out with a loved one and your victim kicks in and ruins the date night. Or, you have an important decision to make and the prostitute shows up.
How do you throw out this unwanted, destructive guest? Here is my method to removing my party crashing voice:
- I stay calm. Any more energy given to the unwanted guest only adds fuel to the fire.
- Find the observer. The higher self has turned its back on the moment. Maybe she went to the bathroom or to get more wine, but she needs to show up and take control. Summon her back to the table.
- Once your higher self is back, observe the behavior of your unwanted guest.
- Talk to her/him (yes, you are talking to yourself). In the voice that you use to deal with any conflict, ask/ tell the guest to leave. I like the voice I use to parent. If they will not leave with a suggestion, use a firmer voice. Remember it is your home and this guest must play by your rules.
- If you fail, it is ok. Just know that any action you take, any word you utter, is coming from this unwanted space. The victim is talking on your date night or your prostitute is determining your career choice.
- We want to take actions from our higher self. If it takes two days to return to this state, then it takes two days. Just be patient.
Our minds are endlessly rambling, but these conversations are not harmless. If our lives are comprised of thousands of daily actions, then understanding the origin of these actions is critical to designing the life we desire.
When we feel sad, anxious, resentful, depressed, or frustrated with our lives, it is because our host is not tending to her dinner party. Our life is decided by the uninvited guest.
Cultivate the strength and awareness of your authentic voice and allow it to lead with its natural grace and poise. We come fully equipped to manage all of life’s challenges when we know how to stay connected to our soul.