My dad’s dad’s mom used to say this thing when someone was feeling quite wrapped up in the emotional urgency of a difficult situation. He would remind the person that “you don’t have to drink the soup as hot as it boils.”
For a long time, I took this to mean that I just needed to give a tough situation a few minutes before throwing myself back into the mess, back into the emotional emergency.
But the other day, my dad reminded me that, often, the situation is not worthy of the emotional emergency I place onto it. That situation? Hey, it’s just soup.
Taken this way, the first seven words of my great-grandmother’s sentence also suffice as quality advice. You don’t have to drink the soup.
I don’t take this as license to be aloof. Rather, it is an invitation to hold my inner chatter and my emotional response to a given situation a little less tightly. And this stance, in reality, frees me to be more thoughtful and generous, rather than obsessed with my own stress response.
So, hey, it is just soup. And there will be more tomorrow.