There is a Pima story from Southern Arizona which has always made me smile. My favourite version is from the book, And It Is Still That Way, which I found when I was living with my grandmother in America.
One night all the dogs gathered for a dance in a field. Dogs came from far and wide. To dance better they took off their tails and hung them on corn plants. But the dogs were startled and in a panic they grabbed any old tail. When they got home they realised they had picked up the wrong one and that is why they sniff each other. They are looking for their own tail.
In a world so full of self pressure we can be like those dogs. Not literally sniffing each others behinds but in a frenzy finding our own identity. Why is this so hard? Are we reared on comparison and the belief we are never enough or even too much? Maybe. Are we so bombarded by the expectations of others we have lost ourselves? Perhaps. Or is it a mixture of all these things which set us adrift and in so doing we lose our authentic selves.
Being our authentic self is hard and often it doesn’t last forever but when we are being true it’s like wearing our own perfect tail and it sure feels good. The desire to compare yourself to others slips away and instead of finding fault you can find joy in who you are. When we are our true selves we can really appreciate the essence, energies and spirit of others.
Things that stop us finding our tails are feelings of doubt and uncertainty, we are nervous and hesitate to trust our individuality. Instead we can waste time mulling on the idea that other people are doing better but in reality they are probably managing life’s ups and downs as well as we are. So don’t try to wear somebody else’s tail because it just won’t fit and will probably look ridiculous.
In the story the dogs never do find their own tails, they are still looking, but we can. The right tail feels authentic. It adds to you rather than detracts, swooshes with ease and confidence. So believe in yourself because your tail will never look good on someone else and there’s will never be right for you.
Story Acknowledgement. And It Is Still That Way, Byrd Baylor, IBSN 0-939729-06-7
One thought on “Find your tail”
Ever the sage ! What a clever analogy.
I think it takes us until we are at least in our forties to have the first essence of our true self. Before that most of us are so influenced by those around us that we lack the confidence. Thankfully – for the most part these days – I for one, am just me !
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