There is a great Chinese proverb that goes like this: “It’s your own lantern, don’t poke holes in the paper.”
I love reading. And I am always on the lookout for great books, articles, magazines, etc. My local libraries, thrift stores, Salvation Army, and Goodwill knows that I am a regular shopper there when it comes to books. So, one fine Saturday morning, one particular library in my town was having a big sale for their little book store, in the hope of decluttering, since they were getting tons for book donations.
So, naturally, I went in, and after a long five minutes of searching through the piles of books, I found a vintage booklet about Chinese proverbs; I immediately
grabbed it and went and paid 50 cents for it. I have to say that Chinese proverbs are among my favorite proverbs. When I found the proverb about your own lantern, I immediately underlined it thinking I wanted to draw from it some important life lesson. So, here we go.
Before I dive into this, I want you to write down the first thought that comes to your mind when you read this proverb.
I am sure many of you can come up with a different conclusion for this, so I want you to analyze how you relate to it afterward.
Alright, back to my perspective. “It’s your own lantern, don’t poke holes in the paper.” When I read this, my immediate thoughts were about the different unhealthy habits that so many of us get trapped in, such as smoking, heavy drinking, drug abuse, promiscuity, deceit, dishonesty, and much more. Because the reality is, although the impacts of our actions can profoundly influence the people in our lives, we are the first-hand victim of our own choices and actions.
The fact is the habit of smoking, drinking, and promiscuity is self-inflicting pain, hurt, and permanent damage. However, they will undoubtedly impact the people closest to you for better or worse. I am one of the people who grew up around
family members who were always drunk and violent and heavy smokers. Because of that exposure early in my life, I decided not to make alcohol part of my life, thinking that I did not want to become what my uncle was due to his unhealthy drinking habits. But I also know people exposed, just like me, to alcohol, who became deeply addicted to heavy drinking and smoking.
So, when it comes to certain things in life that have a very high potential of becoming bondage, stumbling blocks, or even ruining my life and the people closest to me here my motto: “ I do not want to play with a venomous snake, no matter how safe it looks.”
As a life coach, I come across so many people who function with the mindset of playing with fire and trying not to get burned, not being aware that when you
play with fire long enough, you not only will start smelling like smoke, but you will eventually get burned. By the time you realize you are getting burned, it is too late, most likely because you have been accustomed to the smoky smell.
We all know how hard it is to cure, break free, and experience is a lasting transformation from a long-time addiction, whether from personal experience or from watching a friend or family member. So, the question then is, “Why then would we cultivate destructive habits that are sure to poison our life and rob us of our talents, gifts, and potential?”
Let’s dissect the proverb this way “ It’s your own life, don’t poke holes in it,” what are these holes?
Well, I thought of every aspect of our lives, emotionally, financially, spiritually, socially, mentally, even legally. So, ask yourself this question: “What are the “holes” I am poking in my life?” The holes being anything that have the potential to damage, hurt, cripple, and eventually take your life.
Therefore, I highly advocate for every individual to cultivate self-awareness because it is easy to fall into the trap of living life on auto-pilot, going through the motions of life under the many demands of life. Many times, we are not even aware of the little holes we are poking in our own life.
Some “holes” are not as apparent as others, and they are the ones we ought to be vigilant about. Now, we all are struggling with our battles, fears, and weaknesses. Yes, we are not perfect. That being said, should we then go ahead and practice all kinds of malice and unhealthy habits? Of course not! Failing to take life lessons from the people in our lives or those far from us as well would be foolish of us.
I find it quite odd and interesting that whenever I engage in such a conversation
with people, the typical response I get is “YOLO,” meaning you only live once. I find it funny since everyone who has ever been created only lived once. As if you know someone who has lived more than once! So, to me, that is a pathetic excuse for wanting to make unwise life choices.
The truth is you and I do not have enough time in our life here on earth to experience everything. We are not here long enough for us to determine that we surely do not need many things society, our parents, or our own desires are
pressuring us to do, experience, or have. That is just a fact. There is only so much we can endure until we damage ourselves to the point of no return.
All that to say this: Stop Poking Holes In Your Own Life! Stop It!
You know your holes, and I know mine. Let’s all stop poisoning and destroying our lives. Some of us are doing it slowly but they’ll surely catch up, and others are going on full speed at it. You know your pace. And as the Bible says: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” Galatians 6:7
So, after reading this, I have one more question for you, “What will you do to stop poking holes in your own life, starting now?”
No one else can take charge of your life, and you have that power and choice.
I hope this was beneficial to you.
Until next time,
-Krysty Kwally is a Certified Life and Parent Coach who has been working with families for nine years. Krysty has coached women through the different stages of their parenting and motherhood journey such as, behavioral issues, early childhood development and education, home management, and more. She equips women to regain their individuality and autonomy in their life as a whole.
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