A guest sees more in an hour than the host in a year – POLISH PROVERB
This made me laugh though it can also be quite serious. I once stayed somewhere and discovered that the host was making late night calls and cheating on his wife. It was later confirmed. But I won’t go there.
What does the guest get to see that the host does not? Children playing up behind the weary parents’ back, partners doing sneaky things, ways of living that tell a lot about a usually dysfunctional home and worst of all, unhealthy ways of communicating between the family perhaps which will likely lead to misery down the track; runaway teenagers or divorce.
It’s not like hosts don’t try to put on a good front. When guests come to my house is when you will find it at its cleanest. I tell them to please take a good look around on this, their first visit as it will likely never look so clean again. I like to think I don’t keep up with the Joneses however I realise I do have some hidden agenda of standards that I want to meet. In fact I am the Joneses. And so I clean and tidy with fresh eyes – the eyes of my guest. This is daft right there because guests are either meticulous and I can’t live up to their standards, (a couple of girlfriends once said they couldn’t live like this because I had a broken but decorative lamp and picture frames askew), or they are oblivious and would tell me not to bother cleaning up at all before they come, like the lady I did the house swap with.
Actually I take delight in showing my childrens’ rooms at their worst, just to show that I am real, with messy teenagers, and that I can cope with massive imperfection in some areas. I choose my battles.
Anyway what the guests see or judge is up to them. What we see and judge is up to us. It might be fun to borrow the ‘fresh eyes’ of a guest for a day to see what we think they see. Are my kids out of control, my house unsanitary, my garden positively neglected? Have my standards relaxed too much? Am I loved and admired by my children or being walked all over? Are my habits likely to lead to eventual chaos?
I think it’s true; it’s easier to see ourselves when we pick this new state of consciousness; guest versus host. How we judge ourselves and what we do about it is another thing, but it is usually easier to take criticism from our own inner Mrs Jones than anyone else’s. We are hopefully criticising constructively and from a place of self love. We might even glean some joy from refreshing our lives. Only we can ascertain how far we need to go.
I hope you’re feeling refreshed today. Life is never dull if we can take on new personalities. Who will you be after reading this?