Not that I know everything. Not that I even know many things.
But I do know a few things.
And one of the most important things I have come to know in life is the necessity of controlling my thoughts so that destructive thoughts don't control me. Having discovered a tried-and-true method for doing so, I decided to share it with a couple of friends who were obviously in need of my advice.
One thing I should know by now which, apparently, I don't know is not to share what I do know with those who don't care to know.
I know. I should know better. But remember: I don't know everything. Just a few things.
In this story, I will change the names to protect the blatantly guilty.
Caroline worries constantly over the extra poundage that she carries around her hips and thighs. I cannot begin to tell you how many conversations we've had on this topic. We have talked about it so long that there is simply nothing left to say. Now, when she begins a lament about it, I simply reply with several quiet acknowledgments of, "I know."
One day, though, she announced with full conviction. "This is it. I am getting this weight off, whatever it takes."
She was full of zeal and determination so the freshness of her tone led me to offer my advice. "You need to stop weighing. That's the only way you can get off."
For years, she has been a compulsive weigh-master. She, especially when dieting, will weigh herself several times a day. Nothing is more discouraging. Repeatedly, I have seen that addiction to weighing sabotage her and others. I was once a victim of the same behavior. Whatever the scale said in the morning, dictated how my day went and how I felt mentally.
I threw the scales away and now depend on a slim-fitting outfit from several years ago to keep my weight under control. When the zipper strains on the pants, I cut back and exercise more until they fit easily again. A number on the scale, though, will whisper, "It's not working. Just eat what you want."
I shared this advice and had only mild hope that she would listen. "Well," she began in an uncommitted way. "OK."
That advice was followed for exactly two hours. Then, she was back on the merry-go-round that is spinning her dizzy. She defended herself.
"I'm doing better. I'm not weighing as many times a day as usual."
"What you're doing is not working so do something different."
I know. I shouldn't have wasted my time.
Another friend is a well-known, best-selling author. One day over lunch, she confessed that she regularly reads her reviews and is obsessed with checking her sales rankings and reviews on online book sellers. She was downcast about the latest results. To be honest, she is the rule. Not the exception. Many authors judge the success of their latest tome by such standards. In the beginning, I was one of them, too.
Now, I know better.
There were two moments of crystallization for me. First, there will always be critics and fans. I read a lovely, kind-hearted memoir by a Southern legend. I was impressed with his integrity. Then, I read reader reviews of the book and a couple were unfairly unkind. Personally, I got the message.
I also realized that getting caught up in negatives about your work pulls you away from performing positively. So, I broke that habit, too.
"Stop reading that stuff," I said. "You'll be happier and more productive."
"How do you do that?" she asked incredulously.
Neither of my gal pals is going to stop doing what torments her most. I should have known better than to offer my advice.
See? I told you that I don't know everything. But the few things I do know, make me happier.Ronda Rich is the Gainesville-based author of the new book, "What Southern Women Know About Faith." Sign up for her newsletter.