A classic show of my childhood was Winnie the Pooh. It wasn’t a program I remember watching regularly, but every episode I saw filled my heart with joy. I loved the characters: Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Owl, Eeyore, and Tigger, too. Of course, there was also Ro and Kanga from time to time. As an onlooker of the stories, I somehow found myself being drawn to Eeyore. I drew pictures of Eeyore, had a stuff animal Eeyore, and just in general adored that character.
I thought it curious that I was attracted to the character that had a gloomy disposition. It seems the exact opposite of who I am. People I have worked with, as well as friends and family, have told me I have a happy soul. I’m often told, “You are always so happy.” Seeing the good in people is a skill that I have, and I work on it daily. Yet I know that life is truly 50/50; 50 good and 50 bad, and just because I see the good does not mean that I don’t notice the bad, too. I often wondered was my beloved Eeyore gloomy, or was he just truly being honest about what he saw and felt?
Eeyore was known for saying things like, “It’s not much of a tail, but I am sort of attached to it” or “I’ll most likely lose it again, anyways.” Is it gloominess he is expressing or just straight truth? He is attached to his tail, and yes, we can lose things more than just once. So, his statement is, in fact, truth.
Each character expressed different views on subject matter but still remained great friends despite their differences. They didn’t try to change each other due to those differences. We all have people around us who hold different beliefs and views on various topics. We could all learn a few things from Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends. They didn’t focus on their differences, further driving them apart. Instead, they used their individual skills and perspectives to appreciate each other more by listening to one another and loving each other unconditionally.
When I had my two boys, I bought them each a stuffed character from Winnie the Pooh. Triston, my eldest, received Pooh; he was a thinker and had a calm and peaceful demeanor. Then came Keith, he was an all-out Tigger; full of bounce, and came out kicking two months early. He was just a ball of action. I didn’t think much of it, I just gave them a stuffed animal I felt reminded me of them.
I saw in my boys what I chose to see and gave them characters that represented those qualities. Now that they are older, as I am too, I recognize they have qualities of each of the characters in my favorite Pooh time stories. Sometimes, my boys are Eeyore and other times they are Piglet, then again, they have Owl and Rabbit moments, too. Then there are those days they are Tigger, and days that they are Pooh.
Could it be that when we label someone that we may be labeling ourselves? Is what I choose to see in another something I see in myself? This is why I believe that having unconditional love is a gift I am choosing to give myself. When I choose to love someone I disagree with, choosing to love them could mean that I am choosing to love myself. Like The Hundred Acres Wood crew, I also choose to focus on appreciating the differences of those around me, listen to them, and hold unconditional love for them.