My sister-in-law knows me well…intimately, you might even say. She has been my hairdresser for some 30 years. During the years that she’s been washing, cutting, and coloring my hair, she has come to understand just how it behaves. (Curls easily, doesn’t maintain curl. Is fine, thin and poker straight.) She not only knows my hair, she also knows my personality and my preferences. She knows I’m not a woman who wants to put much, if any, time into doing her hair every morning.
Last month, I entered her salon and announced it was time for a change. Pulling out my phone, I showed her roughly six pictures of various women sporting similar, but not exact, hairstyles.
“That!” I said. “I want that. Will my hair do that?” I said poking my finger at the screen.
“Well, yes,” she said slowly. “But…”
And then came the buts. I knew they were coming. Jenny began to explain each of the styles and how my hair would behave if she were to cut it like the models’. She explained the maintenance involved and how to achieve the looks.
“Just remember, you won’t be able to pull your hair into a pony tail at these lengths,” she cautioned.
I’m a massage therapist, and Jenny knows how important, no crucial, it is that I be able to pull my hair back for work.
“Oh, I’ll use a bunch of pins and just pin it back on the sides,” I argued. “Who cares what I look like while I’m working. They all have their eyes closed anyway.”
I smiled to myself having refuted each one of her warnings against going shorter and more layered. Jenny began the process of pinning up chunks of hair and chopping away at the bottom. I watched in the mirror as pieces cascaded to the floor.
Roughly thirty minutes later, I was sporting a new cut and style. It felt lighter, and I liked the fun, flirty length. For 24 hours, I enjoyed my new look.
And then, I went to work.
Minutes into the first massage, I was experiencing buyer’s remorse. Long strands of hair from both sides of my head met in the middle of my face as I made the first few strokes up my client’s arm. Head down and forward, I could barely see what I was doing. Messy, oily hands kept me from tucking the hair behind my ears, forcing me to continue the massage visually impaired. For the next 50 minutes, I could think of nothing but how badly I regretted my decision. My sister-in-law tried to warn me about this very thing, but I refused to listen.
Sometimes, despite the urging of people who know best, we insist on our own way because we think we have a brilliant idea and want to see it through. Sometimes, we just have to learn the hard way on our own.
Proverbs 12:15 says it best: “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes; but he who heeds counsel is wise.”
That’s where I went wrong. I asked the questions and promptly disregarded the answers. It was, after all, my hair and my desire to do something different with it. Despite my sister-in-law’s expert knowledge in the field, as well as first hand knowledge of my hair and my personality, I went against her advice and insisted on my way.
So why did I even bother asking at all?
How many times do we charge ahead in our lives, insisting on our own way, disregarding caution from our friends, family, or other trusted individuals?
Do you ask for advice about important matters and then do the opposite because it wasn’t what you wanted to hear? I know I have. Many times.
Sometimes it’s difficult to admit we don’t know everything and that we aren’t always right. It takes humility to defer to someone else.
My refusal to heed the warnings of my sister-in-law regarding my hair resulted in not just a moment of grief and regret, but days. Weeks, even. I’m still waiting for it to grow out! But it was a lesson learned, and since I’m big on metaphors, I believe this is a big metaphor for my life.
Is there something you insisted on doing your way even though you were advised against it? Are you struggling with the consequences of your decisions? Are you charging ahead in a venture that might require the input of others but aren’t seeking it?
Don’t be afraid of guidance or correction. It would be wise to consider that your way may not be the right or correct way. Seek input from someone who’s opinion can be trusted. Heed their advice.