6 Second Moments

A low self-image is usually not based on fact but on mismanaged memory. – Orrin Woodward

The phone rang in the middle of the night. It was the Veterans Administration Hospital calling to inform my mother that my father had passed away. I was 7 and where I slept and where the phone was located were in close proximity. After my mother received the news, she began calling family members and made the comment, “What am I suppose to do with a 7-year-old boy?” Overhearing that, I processed her words to mean I was a burden.

That one comment, when uttered, lasted all of 6 seconds, but my decision to let it define who I thought I was lasted for decades.

I often use this example to show the power of what I call 6 Second Moments – a few seconds worth of words from another which can have the power to shape our identity and what we feel we are capable of for the entirety of our lives.

In adulthood, that memory came flooding back and I realized how I had loyally lived out...

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